Part II of Wake up and Smell God’s Flowers!
In 1 Samuel 4, the children of Israel were presumptuous in believing God would be with them simply because of who they were (children of Israel) and the presence of the are of the covenant (which is a symbol of God’s presence and power.). They thought they could use it as a âgood luck charm,â? even though the nation as a whole was in gross sin, idolatry and immorality. God will not be used. The battle ended as a tragic loss for Israel.
1 Samuel 4:6-10
6 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp.
7 And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.
8 Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.
9 Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.
10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.
Are we guilty of that? Do we assumed just because of our status as children of God that He will bless us despite our disobedience to clear commands and holding on to our pet sin?
Did you also notice the intent of the Philistines? They realized that if the Israelites could no longer âseeâ? the presence of the Lord, they would lose courage.
The Lord said it well in Luke 16:8Â
And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
Not too long ago, the Lord brought home to Him a dear Christian lady and precious friend. This was a close to middle aged lady loved the Lord and her whole family had been serving Him faithfully forÂ several years. At that time,Â I was fighting sin in my life and God used her physical death as a means to get my attention. I got to thinking, lets say this lady was being rebellious (and I am NOT saying that she was!!!!) and God cut her life short because of her rebellion, then who am I that God should not snuff out my physical life now… Â
Â We need to take heed! Satan only has a few tricks, but he uses them well.
First, he will try to stop the lost from getting saved.
Having failed that, he will try to stop God’s children from being effective for the Lord. Satan knows if he can prevent us from seeing the power of the Lord in others lives and seeing and having it in our lives, we will lose courage and not have strength for the battle. It’s hard to be effective in our service to the Saviour if we can’t see Him working in our lives.
Part III of a 3 Part Series – Wake Up and Smell God’s Flowers!
Here are some general points that I hope will help each one of us to keep our focus right and seeing what we should.
Keep your sin confessed– daily â more if you need to!
Psalms 66:18Â If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
Keep on your Spiritual knees – âPray without ceasing.â?1 Thessalonians 5:17
Keep studying and meditating on the Word of God â Simply reading it is not sufficient! We are commandedÂ to study, memorized, hide in our heart, meditate upon the Word of God. Our Pastor uses the illustration of a cow chewing their cud all day long. This seems apt as we should not only ingest the Word of God, but continue to allow it to work on us and in us throughout the day.Â
Joshua 1:8Â This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
2 Timothy 3:15Â And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
This is a side note, but did you know that kings of Israel were supposed to write out their own copy of the Books of Moses and to read therein daily? (Deut. 17:18-19)
Have a good read in Deut. chapter 11 for some wonderful instruction on dealing with God’s Word.
Keep a journal of what you gleaned. -Â I suggest that you make a journal of what you gleaned in your Bible reading that day. That is how many of my devotionals and lessons started. Even if you don’t make something more out of it, reading it again now and then will be a great blessing and help and it may open your eyes to more wondrous things in the Scriptures.
Keep avoiding the evil and seeking the good:
James 4:17Â Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
1 Thessalonians 5:22Â Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1 Peter 3:11Â Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
Proverbs 4:14-15Â Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
Psalms 34:10Â The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want (lack) any good thing.
Psalms 34:14Â Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Amos 5:14Â Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.
Keep dying daily and putting on the âarmour of God:
1 Corinthians 15:31Â … I die daily.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Let us not only âseek wisdom and pursue itâ? but rather seek and keep our eyes and hearts fixed on the only one who can win our battles! Not so He will fight our battles, but because He owns us and we owe Him everything!
Psalms 119:18Â Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
Psalm 57:7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
Psalm 108:1 O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
Psalm 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.
1 Corinthians 6:20Â For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Part I of Wake up and Smell God’s Flowers! – 3 Part Series
From my daily devotions for April 5th, 2007
Life can get so busy sometimes that we don’t take time to âstop and smell the flowers.â? As energetic, excited, and busy our children get, they always seem to have the time. How often have we walked with our child/children and they âhaveâ? to stop to pick up some âtreasureâ? of God’s creation they have spotted while we were too wrapped up in our all too important thoughts to see what was around us.
Or have you ever taken a nature walk with your children? You think you are just leisurely walking along, taking in the beauty that God has for you. Then you hear the excited voice of your child, âMommy, Mommy! Look what I found!â? as they proceed to show you this âwonderful treasureâ? that was in plain sight but you missed!
We do the same with our Heavenly Father. He wants to show us so much, but we are too wrapped up with this world, or even serving Him, that we are missing the display of His power working in our lives and the lives of others. I’m not talking about signs and wonders. God is always working around us, but too often sin and unbelief prevent us from seeing it.
I love the story of Elisha and his servant, in 2 Kings 6:14-17
14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
What an incredible display of God’s power and protection, and it was there all the time, but the servant couldn’t see it! Obviously Elisha was seeing with a heart of faith rather than a heart of disbelief.
Are you or I really willing to do whatever God wants us to do? Really willing …. whatever …. anything …? If He called you to be a missionary (or wife to one), an evangelist’s wife, Pastor’s wife, etc….Would you answer the call? If He called your child to the wilds of India, would you tell him/her – “If it’s God’s will for you, then you’d better do it”, supporting them every step of the way? Are we REALLY willing to do God’s will? Then why didn’t we hand a Gospel tract to that cashier the other day? Why did we ignore the Spirit’s leading to witness to that “friend” or neighbor? Why didn’t we read our Bible today or pray, but instead chose another book or an extra ½-1 hour sleep? Ouch! If we will not be “faithful in that which is least”, why should we think that God will give us a calling unto “greater things”?
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. Luke 16:10
Still, the Lord may never call us for services such as those mentioned above, but whether we are willing or not to do God’s general (day to day stuff) and specific (our life’s calling) wills for our lives is the whole point. 1. But just who does God think He is that He can tell us what to do? What right does He have?
He is King of kings and Lord of Lords! Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 1 Timothy 6:15 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Revelation 17:14 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:16
God is our Creator and created us for His pleasure.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11
He is The Creator, we are the creature, therefore He is in command:
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? Romans 9:20-21 If we are saved, He owns us, we are His servants: For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:20 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 1 Corinthians 7:23 This reference to “men” would also mean not to be servants to ourselves.
Now, does God own part or all of me? You? 2. Misapplication Too often, I’ve heard the following verses misquoted from the charismatic and liberal crowd:
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? Luke 11:9-12
“See, see, I just have to ask and He’ll give me whatever I want” ….But lets look at the next verse….
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13
“But, but… (we ask) don’t I get a say?” 3. Are we so foolish as to think that God does not know what is best for us and what will make us happy? The Lord wants us to have an abundant life, but He knows what we need better than we do. He knew us even before we were born and is interested in the smallest of matters of our life.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-8 Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet. Job 13:27 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4
Plus, the Holy Spirit that He has given each child of God, knows how to intercede for us, even when we don’t know what we need.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26
4. Why do we have to be so stubborn and foolish that God often has to use drastic means to get our attention and get us to do what’s best for us anyway? It was during the miscarriage of our 4th child that the Lord taught me the importance of being willing, and I know my illustration is a sensitive issue, but it is what the Lord used in my life. I had always said I wanted 3 children and THAT WAS IT! I was even going for surgery to ensure that we would not have anymore, but through the difficult time of our miscarriage, the Lord showed me His will, and I learned to submit. Losing that baby was one of the hardest, yet easiest, trials I have ever gone through. Those of you who have gone through this know what I mean. The emptiness of my womb was terrible, but in my heart reigned “…the peace of God, which passeth all understanding…´Philippians 4:7 Here’s what the Lord taught me:
1. I really did want more children. 2. He owns me, therefore has complete control over my life, and I am to yield to what His will is, not somehow try to fit my will in His.
I took the loss of our child (but the Lord’s gain) as a gentle rebuke for wanting to have my own way rather than God’s way. It wasn’t that God was saying “You ARE going to have 20 kids….” it was more like I just needed to be willing to have as many as He wanted to bless me with, whether He ever intended to give me any more or not: I just had to be willing. I am NOT saying this is the case for everyone’s miscarriage, but I know this to be at least one of the purposes God had for our miscarriage, as well as for comforting others. Many of you know that God used that trial as a springboard for my poem “Our Little One” but it also got me back into poetry writing after not having written for over 10 years and I know I could not have done “My Prayer For His Will”.
I want to quote one of the first lines of my lesson: If He called your child to the wilds of India, would you tell him/her – “If it’s God’s will for you, then you’d better do it”, supporting them every step of the way? I do know what this feels like. I gave the Lord all our children even before they were born, and yes, two of our children thought they were called to the mission field, and I did give them that charge and another: as long as they answer God's call on their life (whatever that might be, whether a housewife, single Christian woman, missionary, etc. whatever), then they will be under God's hand of protection and nothing will happen in their life that God does not allow for His glory. They are safer in God's will in the wilds of some foreign field than out of God's will in our home town. All they need to focus on is doing God's will for their life, just like each and every one of us has to.
Lord, help us to be willing, for you! – Angela Trenholm
I. Personal Short Testimony
II. Devotional by Spurgeon
B. The Little Foxes Spoiling
I. Spoiled Conscience
II. Spoiled Service
III. Spoiled Fellowship
IV. Illustration: Brownies With a Difference
C. The Little Foxes Rooted Out
I. Clear Conscience
II. Empowered Service
III. Sweet Fellowship
IV. Illustration: Getting Our Hands Dirty
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15
I. Personal Short Testimony
We all seem to keep a “little fox” or two around, don’t we? This devotional is a recount of how the Lord worked in my heart to purge out the “little fox” that was “spoiling my vine”. A few years ago at a ladies retreat, a dear sister in the Lord talked about “little impurities” that we allow to creep into our lives, never thinking (or not wanting to see) how those “little foxes” can lead to BIG problems down the road and our vine be spoiled.
II. Devotional by Spurgeon
Here is Spurgeon’s commentary in his Morning and Evening Devotional:
05/30/AM “Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines.” –Song of Solomon 2:15
A little thorn may cause much suffering. A little cloud may hide the sun. Little foxes spoil the vines; and little sins do mischief to the tender heart. These little sins burrow in the soul, and make it so full of that which is hateful to Christ, that He will hold no comfortable fellowship and communion with us. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable. Jesus will not walk with His people unless they drive out every known sin. He says, “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” Some Christians very seldom enjoy their Saviour’s presence. How is this? Surely it must be an affliction for a tender child to be separated from his father. Art thou a child of God, and yet satisfied to go on without seeing thy Father’s face? What! thou the spouse of Christ, and yet content without His company! Surely, thou hast fallen into a sad state, for the chaste spouse of Christ mourns like a dove without her mate, when he has left her. Ask, then, the question, what has driven Christ from thee? He hides His face behind the wall of thy sins. That wall may be built up of little pebbles, as easily as of great stones. The sea is made of drops; the rocks are made of grains: and the sea which divides thee from Christ may be filled with the drops of thy little sins; and the rock which has well nigh wrecked thy barque, may have been made by the daily working of the coral insects of thy little sins. If thou wouldst live with Christ, and walk with Christ, and see Christ, and have fellowship with Christ, take heed of “the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Jesus invites you to go with Him and take them. He will surely, like Samson, take the foxes at once and easily. Go with Him to the hunting. – Spurgeon
B. The Little Foxes Spoiling
I. Spoiled Conscience
Our Preacher had preached about ungodly TV programs, and TV in general, and how we must control it, not let it control us, (and if you can’t, get rid of it!). I had been thinking how good I was doing in that area (after all, I hardly watched any TV….) but really, I had been under conviction for a long time for a show that “wasn’t that bad”…after all….it only had an occasional swear word (oh, and not the really bad ones…)….I taped it so I could fast forward the commercials and “personal moments” (most of the time), etc….I’m sure you could add your own excuses in there too…sigh….but here I was now letting our children watch the occasional episode that wasn’t “too bad”…Oh how we deceive ourselves!!! The truth was, I wanted to watch that show regardless of the “little foxes” I knew would spoil my vine!
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James 1:14
Without saying the name of the show (as I don’t want others drawn to it), it was about court cases, and the two main characters were always “almost” getting together, but not quite. I tried to pacify the Holy Spirit in me by saying I was really watching it for the court cases (which I truly do enjoy!), but the reality was: I was also watching it for the “romance”.
Since “he fashioneth our hearts alike”, I know you’d be doing (or are doing) the same thing…after all, isn’t that why you read those “Christian” romance novels, ever looking for the fairy tale romances in these “perfect” characters that set a standard no man can live up to, leading to unhappiness and lack of fulfillment in our own marriage? One must also consider that in many of these books, the two sweethearts embrace or kiss before marriage, are left in compromising situations being alone, and the list goes on.
I wonder how many young girls have fallen into that trap and committed fornication, because they thought a little kiss was “okay” after reading it over and over in these books. The authors, especially those who claim to be Bible believers will have much to answer to God for, for these individuals.
… that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. Romans 14:13
Now, although I shun those books like the plague, I had fallen in Satan’s trap with the show. I don’t like feeling guilty, but that’s exactly what happens when we choose to hold on to that “little fox”.
Have you ever tried to get anything done while holding on to a fox? Seems silly to do so, but isn’t that what we do when we hold on to that “little sin” and try to a ccomplish God’s work.
Maybe your “little fox” isn’t the “romance” issue, but how about home renovation shows like “Trading Spaces” and “While You Were Out” where individuals have rooms done in their houses by their friends, family, etc. In the case of the latter show, it’s a complete surprise. Besides the often ungodly dress, the rock music (which we can attempt to justify by muting), they have the same perpetual ending with the surprised participants saying “Oh my G….”. Even if you mute it, the movement of the lips is unmistakable and the thought has been planted…willingly…by our own selves! I know, I’ve been there too…
Now I know this is going to really irk someone…how about the “Little House on the Prairie” TV show (I’m not talking books here-the show)? or shows like it….they’re clean right? Without digging into the wishy washy “religious morality”, I don’t consider two individuals who are not married in real life, kissing, to be “clean”. That’s called fornication (which could easily lead to adultery) and we all know what God thinks about that.
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 1Corinthians 7:1
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled:but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4
I really didn’t want to tell anyone I was watching this show, as I knew I was doing wrong, as we all know when we are!
We can run, but we can’t hide! The Holy Spirit will not allow us to remain in the much and mire of sin, regardless of how “little” we think it is!
II. Spoiled Service
It all boils down to this: It is one area of our lives we have not given over to the Lord. We are bucking the Holy Spirit and God’s working in our lives comes to a complete standstill until the issue is dealt with. As we go out soulwinning, the Spirit’s power is not present; Bible reading is stale; prayer life is repetitive or non-existent; we’ve lost our joy. How can I expect to be the godly Christian woman the Lord wants me to be when I have no spiritual power. This is not God’s desire. He wants all His children to be filled with the Spirit of God so we can effectively witness in word and deed of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When the little foxes were spoiling my vine, I tried to witness, but the Spirit’s power was not there. I had quenched the Spirit of God and the Lord could not, would not use me. The blood of those whom I should be witnessing to was now on my hands. I had no one to blame but myself.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: Psalm 66:18
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God,and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:2
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do,do all to the glory of God. 1Corinthians 10:31
Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1Thessalonians 5:22
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper:but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13
When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Ezekiel 3:18
III. Spoiled Fellowship
In my case, it was causing me to be grumpy with my children, actually, down right miserable and I certainly was not the profitable help meet for my husband either! I was hardly reading my Bible, my prayer life was hindered….on and on it went….I was fighting God and I knew it! I’ve often said there are two people who are the most miserable on earth, the lost and the backslidden Christian. It’s not good to be either one! If you are honest, you must admit that it is your sin that is causing havoc in your home as well.
Well, as I said, Preacher preached on ungodliness from the TV, and I was still justifying myself pretty good, until he read an illustration I had read a few years ago, but forgotten about. I think it gets the point across thoroughly.
Brownies With A Difference
Many parents are hard pressed to explain to their youth why some music, movies, books, and magazines are not acceptable material for them to bring into the home or to listen to or see.
One parent came up with an original idea that is hard to refute. The father listened to all the reasons his children gave for wanting to see a particular PG movie. It had their favorite actors. Everyone else was seeing it. Even church members said it was great. It was only rated PG because of the suggestion of sex — they never really showed it. The language was pretty good — the Lord’s name was only used in vain three times in the whole movie.
The teens did admit there was a scene where a building and a bunch of people were blown up, but the violence was just the normal stuff. It wasn’t too bad. And, even if there were a few minor things, the special effects were fabulous and the plot was action packed.
However, even with all the justifications the teens made for the PG rating, the father still wouldn’t give in. He didn’t even give his children a satisfactory explanation for saying, “No”, He just said, “No”.
A little later on that evening the father asked his teens if they would like some brownies he had baked. He explained that he’d taken the family’s favorite recipe and added a little something new. The children asked what it was.
The father calmly replied that he had added dog poop. However, he quickly assured them, it was only a little bit. All other ingredients were gourmet quality and he had taken great care to bake the brownies at the precise temperature for the exact time. He was sure the brownies would be superb.
Even with their father’s promise that the brownies were of almost perfect quality, the teens would not take any. The father acted surprised. After all, it was only one small part that was causing them to be so stubborn. He was certain they would hardly notice it.
Still the teens held firm and would not try the brownies.
The father then told his children how the movie they wanted to see was just like the brownies. Our minds are us into believing that just a little bit of evil won’t matter. But, the truth is even a little bit of poop makes the difference between a great treat and something disgusting and totally unacceptable.
The father went on to explain that even though the movie industry would have us believe that most of today’s movies are acceptable fare for adults and youth, they are not.
Now, when this father’s children want to see something that is of questionable material, the father merely asks them if they would like some of his special dog poop brownies. That closes the subject.
Doesn’t leave us with any excuses does it?
C. The Little Foxes Rooted Out
I. Clear Conscience
I still struggled with my “besetting sin” that night, but the next morning, I could not take the conviction anymore, so I walked over to the VCR and deleted the program for that show. It was done! What relief! What joy! Oh why do we hold on to our sin when there is such sweet release, relief, joy, contentment, etc. when we know we are walking in sweet fellowship with our Lord!
….weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalms 30:5
It has been several weeks now, and not only have I stopped watching that show, almost all desire for any TV has virtually vanished. I’m not even really that interested in the news anymore either. (I read that via e-mail when I want it.)
It is so wonderful to no longer have that burden of guilt which brings about a sense of impending judgment!
II. Empowered Service
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalm 51:12
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem,and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8
Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness,nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Ezekiel 3:19
III. Sweet Fellowship
I was blessed to go out for lunch that day, for the first time ever, with my Pastor’s wife. (Don’t know why we never have, maybe 6 kids each, busy household…you know the rigmarole!) Anyway, we had a blessed time encouraging one another in the Lord, with a clear conscience, and it was a great relief for me to share with her this issue and to rejoice in victory over sin!
I didn’t really think I spent “that” much time watching TV, but now I find I can sit and talk with my other children (or read them a book, etc.) while feeding the baby, instead of watching the “goof tube”. And yes, a sweeter spirit is now reigning in our home! God has been very good to me!
IV. Illustration: Getting Our Hands Dirty
Susannah Wesley was one of the great mothers of history. One day, one of her daughters wished to do something which was not altogether bad, but which was not right. When she was told not to do it, she was not convinced.
It was late and she and her mother were sitting beside a dead fire. Her mother said to her: “Pick up that bit of coal.” “I don’t want to,” said the girl. “Go on,” said her mother. “The fire is out, it won’t burn you.” “I know that,” said the girl. “I know it won’t burn me but it will blacken my hands.” “Exactly,” said Susannah Wesley.
I think this quote summarizes so well what the “little foxes” can do::
Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go.
Sin will keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay.
Sin will cost you far more than you ever wanted to pay.
– Author Unknown to me
Our Preacher is fond of saying:
It is better to have no friends than the wrong kind of friends.
I’d like to add to his wise saying::
It is better to read no books than read the wrong books.
It is better to watch no TV than bad TV.
Let us take heed and not allow those “little foxes” to “spoil our vines” so that we may be the godly Christian women God wants us to be.
– Angela Trenholm
Take us the foxes, the little foxes,that spoil the vines:for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11
* * * * * * *
Are you content in Godâs will? I mean, are you really content in Godâs will? After many years as of listening to many brothers and sister in Christ, I was surprised (though I should not have been) that very few are truly, consistently, content.. Truth be told, I must also count myself among this discontented number.
This is nothing new. Godâ Word clearly says: The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
But what does it mean to be content? Here are some definitions:
From Websterâs 1828 Dictionary:
Content: Literally, held, contained within limits; hence, quiet; not disturbed; having a mind at peace; easy; satisfied, so as not to repine, object, or oppose.
To satisfy the mind; to make quiet, so as to stop complaint or opposition; to appease; to make easy in any situation;
To please or gratify.
Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.
Acquiescence; satisfaction without examination.
From Strongâs Concordance referring to Heb. 13:5, Phil. 4:11:
G714 arkeo – apparently a primary verb (but probably akin to 142 through the idea of raising a barrier); properly, to ward off, i.e. (by implication) to avail (figuratively, be satisfactory):–be content, be enough, suffice, be sufficient.
Iâm going to go through the definitions, and as I do so, let us all ask ourselves the ensuing questions.
1. So as not to repine, object, or oppose:
Do I repine, object or oppose what God is doing in my life?
2. To satisfy the mind; to make quiet, so as to stop complaint or opposition; to appease; to make easy in any situation:
Is my mind satisfied that God knows best? Quiet? Do I complain and oppose the Lord? Am I appeased in any situation?
3. To please or gratify:
Am I pleased or gratified in and with Godâs plan for my life?
4. Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition:
Is my mind at rest and quiet in Godâs will for my life?
5. Satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.
Am I satisfied in Him?
6. Acquiescence; satisfaction without examination:
Do I relinquish full control to Him without even considering that He is fully capable in managing my life? Is He my LORD?
I find one point in the Strongâs definition to be especially poignant. âthrough the idea of raising a barrier); properly, to ward off, i.e. (by implication) to availâ¦â?
Isnât he saying that being content is like having a barrier of protection around us? Thatâs what the Word of God says.
We cannot be content without faith in our Lord, and faith means trust. According to the definition of content, and the following verse, being content (trusting the Lord) creates a barrier that wards of Satanâs attacks.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Ephesians 6:16
If we truly trust the Lord, we will be content, and thus this barrier of protection is there for us. When we are discontent, we do not trust the Lord and we step away from his shield of protection and Satan can easily attack us, and attack us with our own sin!
The following passages really thumped on me:
Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?Â But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:5-10
How often do we read the story of Israelâs exodus from Egypt, their wandering in the desert, their whining and complaining and dare say, âIf that had been me, I would not have complained, etcâ¦â? Scholars estimated the number of people who left Egypt was anywhereâs from 2-6 million, yet only a handful remained true to the Lord. The truth is we most likely would have acted just like the majority!
Ladies, when we are not content with Godâs will for our lives, this is SIN! It was sin in Exodus, and itâs still sin now.
When we are not content with what the Lord gives us, here are some (but certainly not all) of the things we are telling Him:
He doesnât know what is best for us.
He is not all-wise.
He is not fair and is a respecter of persons.
He cannot provide âperfect peace and restâ?
He is not the âall sufficiencyâ?. II Corinthians 9:8
He is not our rest.
He is not our high tower of protection.
He is not trustworthy
I could easily continue this list, but I think we all get the hint.
Yet does not our Bibles say:
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5
Surely, if the Apostel Paul could say this, then we can too!
I cannot fully imagine the pain of each and every instance each and every person may go through, yet I fully know the pain of not being content in Godâs will.
We have a God who is faithful to give us abundant life if only we will accept it of Him.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Is it that hard for us to see that we are ALLOWING our joy, our contentment, etc. to be stolen? Itâs not Satanâs fault. We allow our joy to be stolen!
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:â¦But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James 1:12,14
It is not sin to be tempted, but it is sin to dwell and follow through on it!
We have a lady in our church that has one child and has miscarried 6 times. It has been very difficult for her, but she just keeps her eyes on the Lord. Not always easy at times, but she tries very hard. I have only ever heard her cry once about this and it was several years ago. The interesting this is she (by her own choice) is often in charge of the baby showers! She has not let her pain hinder her from being a blessing to others.
Sometimes we try to make excuses about the pain we go through and blame the situation for our pain, but the situation is not the problem: we are! It is almost always our own selfishness and commitment to what we want that makes us miserable. The pain is the symptom of the real problem:
God does not have first place.
I suffered “depression” (of my own choice!) for several years, and I can confirm what I have heard so many times: There is only one cure: confessing our sin, and fixing the focus of our attention.
Getting our focus off of ourselves and âLooking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2Â Â then having our mind set on pleasing the Lord is the only cure.
After reading a particular thread on an ladies Bible message board, and grieving for these ladies (not only for the pain they were going through, but the pain they were willingly putting themselves through) I ran some ideas by some godly ladies whose opinions I value dearly. Here is some of their input. It applies to any situation where discontentment reigns.
Quote: I’ve never been where any of these women have been, but GOD is faithful and He makes NO mistakes. I could have allowed my sisterâs death to drive me to depression because it was so painful, and still is at times, but I CHOSE to dwell on The Problem Solver rather than the problem, if you know what I mean!! We do have a choice in the way we think and respond to what God allows in our lives!!
Quote: The biggest need I see in this thread is the “change of focus” as you have put it. They are focusing on their lack and not their abundance. They are focusing on self and not others. They lack the JOY they need because they are misspelling it. The Y is coming before any one or anything else.
DH (who happens to be a veteran missionary and Pastor) said that until they stop stomping their foot at God in this temper tantrum and become genuinely rested in HIS will for them they will not know happiness or peace and will continue to have bitterness toward those women who are on a different road than they are.
If we could truly grasp what this all means, it would simply boil down to this: When we allow discontentment to take hold, the Lord does not have first place in our lives â our sin does and thatâs idolatry! Anything in our lives that takes the preeminence above the Lord is idolatry.
OW! How true for every single one of us!
So how do we conquer this? The same way all sin is conquered:
1. Confess our discontentment, lack of trust, and idolatry.
2. Put our focus back where it needs to be: on the Lord
3. Stop trying to be the co-pilot and let God do the piloting, guiding, steering. He is LORD!
A simple way to maintain a good focus is to let Christ work through us in being a blessing to others.Â It’s easier said than done sometimes, but isolating oneself from what we perceive the problem to be will not solve it, as it is not the real issue. Soulwinning and good works towards others are a great way to do this.
This comes to mind:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
We had a lady, Dee Dee, visit us a few weeks back. She’s from another IFB church in Vancouver, BC. A friend we know, Cece, was coming out for a few days and asked her if she’d like a ride so Dee Dee could visit her brother dying in the hospital. She had contacted me to see if we could put Dee Dee up in our basement suite that we have set up for out of towners, missionaries, evangelists, etc.
Anyway, we had Dee Dee here for several days. This darling widow lady is 80 yrs. old, hardly ever gets to see her grandchildren or great-grandchildren and was thrilled at the prospect of being in a house with 6 children, especially girls! We all had a wonderful time and Dee Dee even had family devotions with us. She sent us a thank you note after and the main focus was “thank you for letting me be a part of your family”.
I highly recommend âadoptingâ? an older lady that does not have her family near. Focus on being a blessing to her, or several ladies, if you can.
Another idea is to “adopt” a bus kid (the “fatherless”). We’ve done that and it thrills these young girls who do not have a mom who is involved in their lives, either through divorce, etc. Weâve brought some to the Mother/Daughter banquets, family picnics, etc.
Ladies, I truly hope and pray that this lesson is as much a help to you as it is to me. How easy it is for any of us to get our spiritual eyes out of focus and focus on the circumstances rather than He who controls the circumstances.
Iâll close with a poem I wrote a few years back and the song that came to mind at the time:
My Prayer For His Will
As I lay beside you in your bed,
My heart is so full of concern.
How I want to see you well again –
Is the prayer that within me burns.
To hear you laugh, as only you can do;
To see your precious smile light your face.
Each moment you have been with us,
Is a reminder of my Saviour’s grace.
Though I knew you have a heart condition,
You’ve been so well, I had forgotten.
But seeing you lying there, so frail and weak,
My heart is burdened with overmuch grief.
Your sickness is a clear reminder –
That to us, you do not belong,
But are lent to us from The Master,
And I know He’ll not steer us wrong.
You are our Lord’s, and He knows best.
As He fulfills His perfect will,
In each of our lives, it’s a test,
And we need but to stand still.
Too often we try so hard to control,
The circumstances that come our way.
Then these become a burden to our soul,
As we’ve led ourselves astray.
Dear God, if you choose to call her home –
Though I know my sorrow would be great –
Cause me to see that your grace will uphold me,
Help me, as in your care I commit her fate.
Oh Lord Jesus, may this my prayer be:
“That all in Thee, do I put my trust;
That I not question Your perfect will,
And all that You have planned for us.”
by Angela B. Trenholm
January 9th, 2004
Written as I stayed up to keep watch on Melissa (2 1/2 years old at the time) when she had a high fever that would not go down, at this point, suspecting RSV or pneumonia. Found out the following day that yes, she had pneumonia and an ear infection. The Lord answered our prayers and restored her health!
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9a
And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Words: Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907.
Music: âAdelaide,â? George C. Stebbins, Northfield Hymnal
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold oâer my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit âtill all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.
* * * * * * * *
Are you content in Godâs Will?
Comments by Others
This page joins together various comments that were either e-mailed to me regarding depression and my testimony / Bible study on it, or were brought forth in a Christian Ladies group I am a part of. I hope they will be as great an encouragement to you as they were to me. The texts are used with permission. – Angela
I have been depressed every since I can remember. I never had anything to look forward to no goals and no direction in my life. This changed when I came to know Christ as my Saviour. I found direction, but Satan knew my weaknesses and continued to put those things before me that I would allow to bring me down.
I have been through some major emotional battles. I remember a situation happening where I was so upset that I was shaking uncontrollably that I had to lean against a wall just to hold myself up. I was brought up where you donât show your emotion. My husband always said I wore my emotions on my sleeves. This contradiction was because I was not controlling my emotions they where controlling me. I donât know if Iâm writing this so it makes since to anyone, but I hope you understand what Iâm trying to say. When I laughed, cried or got upset it was all on the inside. So it was building in me (all these emotions) but I was not letting them out (kind of like a bomb ready to exploded). One way or another they emotion was going to come. Other people saw it (the emotion on the sleeve and your react to the emotion). This emotion took a huge toll on my body. I couldnât sleep, I was having trouble breathing at times, etc, etc. I went in to the doctor not knowing what was wrong (things were going fairly well in my life). So they gave me Allergy medicine, then gas medicine, then asthma medicine, then I was told I had pleurisy (sp). The IB helped some but I was still feeling horrible. I went in again and the doctor talked with me some more and he told me it was more or less an emotional problem and it was effecting my body. He gave me antidepressant medication (like Prozac, but without the side effects). I took it and it did help, but I knew it wasnât right. I struggled with not taking it because I felt sooooo much better than before. Greg came home from Iraq and we talked about it and he said that he thought I should get off it. He also apologized for cause some of the emotional problems that lead up to why I took the medicine in the first place. Granted I already had the problem but he wasnât helping it at all. And he has been a really good husband since he got right with the Lord an surrendered to preach.
It wasnât easy coming off the medicine and I did go through a slight depression. But God helped me through it and blessed me with a husband who helped me. I still have my days but they are nothing like before.
I remember nights when I would beg and plead with God to help me. I really canât say that it was a lack of relationship with the Lord, but more a learning process on how to deal with my emotions. Learning that I need to laugh out loud and cry when someone gives an amazing testimony instead of worry that others would see me crying (vanity). Learning not to hold everything in to where I make my husband miserable and he doesnât want to be around me. When my relationship with the Lord was strained was when I had learned these things, but instead of seeking Him and applying what I know, I would give in to the emotions.
Here are verses that I really leaned on to help me.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Philippines 4:13.Â I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Being depressed is like a reality all your own. Nothing you view is really as it seems, but itâs real to you. Greg (DH) often says your reality your perception. Having victory is having Godâs reality and His perception.
I have been reading with interest these notes on depression. I think it is easy to get our eyes off the LORD. You know so many times over the last 8 or 9 months since we moved here, the LORD has met our needs. Yet it is still easy to forget that HE is God!! Do you think that when we get discontented (been there 🙁 ) we get depressed? Maybe we think that we arenât getting what we âdeserveâ? so we start feeling sorry for ourselves. We know a couple that live in a trailer with a crooked floor. She homeschools her 3 children. We had supper with them when hubby was preaching at their church. She told me that it wasnât much but that they were laying up treasures in Heaven instead of on earth. That really stuck with me. I sometimes find myself wishing for a bigger kitchen or a new couch. But her words keep coming back to me. As well as Scriptureâ Phil 4:11 âNot that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.â?
Isnât God good to help us with all our trials and difficulties?
Speaking of being content 🙂 Some of you know I have been hoping to have a babyâ¦well so far it hasnât happened. I have prayed and left it with the LORD. Maybe He just wants me so be content with the 3 wonderful children I already have. I will be 37 on Mar. 29 â¦I donât feel that oldâ¦..
I thought I would share this song with you. A lady sang this at our Independent Baptist Church Camp a few years ago. I have shared it with several people. The lady who wrote it was in a very serious car accident and spent months recovering.
From Becky Calvert
God is Good
When life is a struggle and I feel alone.
When sadness stills my song-God is good.
When surprises come at me-He is not surprised. For He planned it, He
is God and He is good.
If life smiles on me today or if it frowns.
If the sun comes up or doesnât God is good.
In a million years from now Iâll not remember those.
But I will remember that my God was Good.
God is Good- God is Good.
And He doeth all things well.
All His efforts meet success.
God is good. God is good.
Who am I to question the judgments that He makes!
God is good. This I know. God is good!
Iâve read all of the posts about depression, and Iâve been helped by all of them immensely. Not because I am currently dealing with any depression myself, but because I know that I will someday.
When I was younger, I used to deal with fear. My family life now is wonderful, but it wasnât always. My parents used to argue quite often, and it always affected me badly. It was never anything more than arguing though, no abuse at all. I also always knew that my parents loved me and loved each other. Theyâre just both very passionate people, and they like to be right. The types of arguments they had would have probably just been considered an in depth conversation to anyone else. Voices never really raised, no threats were ever made. Just run of the mill little marital spats. The âcounsellorsâ? said that I was just an overly emotional child, that all children had to hear their parents argue sometimes. I guess this is true, but the crippling fear I felt was by no means normal. At the age of ten, I would ride the school bus home and worry about whether they would have argued that day. I would get sweaty, hot, often Iâd actually get sick to my stomach. On the worst days, I would hyperventilateâ¦my bus driver actually kept a paper bag on the bus for me, just in case.
As I got older, I learned to stop being scared of the arguments. I started to realize that they really were normal. The fear didnât go away thoughâ¦it just moved to something different. Instead, I started being scared of situations. In high school, I was always sure that I would hear my name called on the intercom, and they were going to tell me something had happened to one of my parents. Then I would start to worry again on the bus. I would wake up in the middle of the night, crying and screamingâ¦and CERTAIN that every one in my house was dead. I refused to spend the night with friends, for fear that something would happen while I was gone. Iâd also never really have people over, because I was sure Iâd probably scare them with my nightmares.
This went on and affected every part of my life until I was 21. I was always afraid of somethingâ¦I lost sleep, didnât eat right, was snappy with people I loved. Now hereâs the strange but wonderful part. It all went away, and I basically forgot about that part of my life. I can remember the last time I felt intense, crippling fear. The phone had rang, and I was sure my daddy had died. He hadnât. I called my mom, and for the first time ever, I told her how I felt inside. She prayed with me, and had me to talk to my dad and then my pastor. I remember being on my knees, and asking God, begging Him, to please take the fear from me. Then, I actually did something about the fear. When I started to feel it, I would read my Bible or pray. Philippians and Romans always helped a lot. I would also singâ¦wherever I was, whatever I was doing. Iâd just stop and sing a little song to God. Often I would sing this little chorus:
â? I love You, Lord,
and I lift my voice,
to worship You.
Oh my soul, rejoice,
Take joy my King,
in what you hear,
let it be a sweet sweet song,
in Your ear.â?
Just recently, my mom asked me when the last time I felt that way was. Shockingly, I had to really think about itâ¦I almost had forgotten I ever had that feeling. I know that most people donât deal with this type of thing, and that it doesnât disappear as quickly as it did for me, but I wanted to share. I KNOW that my wonderful God is the only reason I am able to go through every single day, happy and content. I love to give Him the praise and the glory that He deserves for that!!
2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Another ladyâs response to above:
Isnât it strange, that with a secure family you had such fears. A pastor was here once that preached on that very thing. He said that fears come from unconfessed sin. He named a sin that he had as a small child that caused him to have a great fear of the dark. It derived from a movie he watched. He used a lot of scripture (I have the tape if anyone would like me to listen and get his references) He said we need to beg God to show us where the sin was, and then confess it. I have an idea that is what you did. I wouldnât be surprised if depression does not come from a similar background. Also, bitterness needs to dealt with the same way.
As long as you continue to deal with your sin, your likelihood ofÂ having a serious problem with it is probably pretty remote. If it comes, it wonât stay, as long as you deal with it right away. You have been through enough in the last several months to bring major problems. Your sickness may have come from that, but when the Lord sent you home, He gave you a chance to âBe still and know that I am God!â?
Your are a real encouragement to me. I know the Lord is using you in a great way, and He is not finished!
From Nita Re again:
Good study, Angela.
Chemical imbalance is something that can cause great distress. It is often used as an excuse for depression. No matter what the cause, I do believe it is a fact we have to deal with. Most of the time, it comes from sins we have not dealt with. I wish I could say that all sins are confessed, but I notice some great men of God in scriptures that were on top of it one day and down under the next.
One thing that I have found is that depression does not just go away by saying it is a sin. Sometimes it takes soul searching to identify the sin that so easily besets us. Fears are something else that does not easily go away. When we finally ask God to reveal to us the basis of the fear and confess it to Him, (I did not say to a counselor), then we are able to give it to the Lord, and it is gone, gone, gone. That is unless we revisit it and go back and let it affect us again.
Wrong choices put us in positions where it is sometimes a conflict to do the Lordâs bidding or the bidding of the one who is our authority. Knowing what the Lordâs will is, is sometimes difficult. Watching and listening to wrong things can fall under this category, too. Sometimes it is hard to know what to accept and what to confess.
Another thing that I fight is depression when my scoliosis puts my spine out of line. Everything is fine one day, and the next day I cannot shake it. A quick alignment puts me back on the up and up.
One of my favorite passages is Psalm 3. I look at this as the temptations instead of people.
Psalms 3:1 <<A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.>>LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set
themselves against me round about.
7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
In the depth of despair, once, I memorized this. What a blessing it has been to me.
One time my pastor asked me how many chapters I read a day. He then told me to increase it to ten. It was amazing what a help that was in putting my mind on the Lord.
May we not be trapped in the depths of depression. The JOY of the Lord does not always come by willing it to, nor does it come by filling our lives with things, worldly activities, etc. Sometimes we have to spend time and dig in the Word of God to find release from the horrible clutches of sin.
Many times we need counsel to do this.
God bless you every one. May we all have genuine Joy of the Lord!
Hi, Ladies. As I have read these posts from those of you so closely associated with depression, I felt that maybe I should clarify my previous post in case some of you read it and got a wrong impression.
First of all, as I stated, I am a licensed counsellor. However, I am NOT in any way associated with secular psychiatry. I do have a knowledge of secular psychiatry for the sole purpose of being able to refute their ideals when someone comes to me who has already been that route. I agree with each of you that has posted stating that depression is a sin, and it will always be a sin, and must always be dealt with as a sin. There are no two ways about this.
My basic position as a Christian Biblical counsellor is to first of all assure my clientâs salvation. Without salvation as a foundation, there can never be a real turning from the sin that has caused the depressive symptoms. After this, my âjobâ? is to help the client grow in their walk with the Lord, take their eyes off of themselves (it can always be worse and things are not generally as bad as we make them seem), as well as repent of the sin they have fallen into which caused the depression. I agree that this repentance is not for my benefit, but it is to the Lord they should repent and to anyone that has been hurt because of their sin. Forgiveness comes from the Lord and those who have been hurt. I can never forgive one of my clients for something they have done to someone else.
My reasoning behind determining the exact type of depression (there are three main types) is that some depression occurs because of a sense of being overwhelmed with everything in oneâs life, and they are not good organizers. These people need help in learning how to schedule, organize, and design their lives so that they are able to function smoothly from day to day. Manic depression must be dealt with when the patient is in the depressed state, but first deal with the manic problem. Mania is ALWAYS a cover-up for some failure and needs to be dealt with first and repented of so that you can get on to getting over the depression. Otherwise, when something gets too difficult, the client turns back to acting wild and frenzied rather than doing the work required of getting into the Word of God.
There are also various personality types, and knowing which one your client is can be helpful in helping a patient overcome their depression. There are specific verses in the Scripture for every type of depression (or any problem for that matter) which will be helpful to the different personality types. Just as you know what types of rewards/punishments work best for each of your children based on their temperament, there are different methods which will work best for approaching each individual client.
I know some Christian psychologists who do think meds are okay and such, but on the whole, I am not in agreement with this, especially for the long-term. All this does is make the person feel better without actually tackling the real underlying issues.
I hope I have not offended anyone by thisâif so, I apologize. It was not my intention to do so. However, I do know that I have counseled many people who often felt they had nowhere else to turn, and those that chose to listen to what I had to say regarding the Scriptures and applied those verses and organizational skills to their every day lives were benefited and have been able to help themselves when they feel they are slipping back into the old sinful ways again. So, I do believe that there is a place for counselors who are counseling people the correct way.
PLEASE NOTE: I would NEVER, under any circumstances counsel any teenage boy or adult man. By the same token, I have often found that ladies prefer to talk to another lady than to a man (other than their husbands) about their problems when they are truly looking for help and not a pill or some sort of supportive psychotherapy. I do believe God tells us to seek out wise counsel if there are problems as well as for the mature Christian ladies to teach the younger ones how to be proper ladies in church and in their own lives (by example, word, and deed). Maybe if more of us did that (especially moms to their own daughters), there would be less ladies out there floundering in this state of mind.
(Comment by Angela: Notice she does not say the sin must be confessed to the counsellor. Sin must be confessed to the Lord God.)
I struggled with depression for many years. I saw psychologists and psychiatrists and tried almost everything they told me to do to try to overcome my depression. One of them wanted to just prescribe medications indefinitely, another used hypnosis to help me remember âsuppressed memoriesâ from the past, another tried to get me to believe that everything was to blame on my mother. Nothing helped.
I kept sinking further and further into depression. My marriage was really suffering. I was saved, but was still a baby Christian and didnât have (or know how to develop) a close relationship with God.
One day my husband said, You are starting to get depressed, again, arenât you? I realized that I had come out of my depression and yes, I was starting to drift back toward it. I know it sounds weird that I didnât even know that I was no longer depressed, but once I explain what I discovered brought me out of it, you will understand.
My husband and I started talking through it and we came to the conclusion that one of the main reasons I was no longer depressed was that I just didnât have the time to focus on myself and wallow in my self-pity any longer. You see, I had gotten busy taking care of and serving other people (my own new family and in my local church). I never considered my self a self-centered person, but when I realized how much time I had focused on my past and how my past made me feel I had to accept the fact that there was at least part of me that was self-centered. And since I was starting to slip back into depression I had to make a conscious effort to stop thinking of myself and start thinking of others and what I could do for them. And I did do this, but it wasnât always enough.
At a Christian Ladies Conference I attended a class on depression. I learned two things at that conference that I still remember to this day. The first is that there is only one person that can be everything that I need and who will never fail me of course that is God. I had been trying to make my husband be everything that I needed and of course, no matter how hard he tried he just could not fill every need I had. The other thing I learned was how to apply Scripture to my life and my particular circumstance.
Whenever I feel myself starting to get depressed, I turn to Philippians Chapter 4. I have read this chapter many, many times and it helps me every time. I have committed Philippians 4:8 and 4:13 to memory. I made myself a pretty Scripture plaque of Philippians 4:8 and hung it in place in my home where I will see it often.
I agree with Angela that depression is a sin. If you are a Christian struggling with depression, you need to get things right with God. You need to be living your life the way that He would have you to live it and I guarantee you that focusing on yourself and whatever it is that is causing your depression (no matter how bad that something is) is not how God wants you to be living your life.
Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.
15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.
22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesarâs household.
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. <<To the Philippians written from Rome, by Epaphroditus for Paul.>>
Note: The book of Philippians was written while Paul was in prison and the Philippian Christians were enduring bitter persecution.
Thank you for sending in these words! Today has been a hard day, Iâve spent most of it helping my mom and her best friend handle funeral arrangements for her son. I opened my e mail and saw these and it really lifted me up. I printed it out and let Sue (the lady whoâs son went to Heaven today) read them, and she just smiled and said âthese words were from God.â?
It reminded me of the night my pastors son diedâ¦we were all standing in the rain waiting for the police to let us go look for him again, and suddenly one of us started singing âGod is so Goodâ?. Before long, there were about 40 people standing there, holding onto each other and singing. The lady across the street said that in everything that happened that night, that was what she remembered the most.
Iâm feeling very thankful tonightâ¦for my health, my family, my church, my salvation, and mostly for my God. Heâs always faithful, Heâs always just, Heâs always thereâ¦He knows things about me that even I donât understand, and yet He still loves me. What a wonderful truthâ¦
Love to you all,
The common factor in all these responses is a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. Without Him, we are nothing. I quote a comment I made near the top: âIsnât our Lord wonderful! He really is all we needâ¦.. The solution to depression is definitely a choice, yes, and it all boils down to this: Establishing and maintaining the proper relationship with the Lord God, Creator of all!
If you cannot claim this special relationship, please view our page on Godâs Simple Plan of Salvation or contact us.
Depression – Is It Biblical?
Angela’s Personal Testimony
(Bible Lesson below) (Download in PDF)
I’ve come to realize that most people who know me now do not think I could know anything about depression because I am generally a very content and joyful individual, almost always trying to look on the bright side of things, etc., but that wasn’t always so, and I was also very good at hiding what I was going through inside. I would like to give my testimony on depression – because I’ve been there, and I know how it can devastate yourself and those around you. More importantly, I know the Lord wants me to write what I went through and how I dealt with it. I pray it will be a blessing and encouragement to all who read it. Please read it in its entirety. Even if you’ve never gone through this, you may be able to help a loved one some day. I realize I will probably get a lot of flack over this issue, but this issue is certainly one that needs to be dealt with, as it has controlled and devastated too many lives.
I grew up with a mother and father who were both prone to depression, my father especially so. I can remember, as a child, visiting him in a “special hospital” where there were a lot of people who acted very strangely. He went there several times. My mother was frequently upset, having a hard time looking at the bright side of anything. As I grew up in this, it certainly reflected on me, since I didn’t know any better. I had no idea life could be any different.
I had become a Christian at age 13, but had no basis to expand my faith. By the age of 20, I had begun to go to a massage therapist who told me she had never seen anyone, especially so young with such locked muscles (she never was able to get them to completely release.) How bad did all this really affect my life and my family’s life? At one point, it ruled my life so much that my health began to suffer. I could easily go into all the details of some of the sorrows I went through, but I don’t believe that would honour the Lord, but this one point, the results of my allowing the depression, I feel the Lord wants me to expound on. It got so bad in 1997 that it didn’t matter what I ate, I had an allergic reaction, even to rice, and corn, which I’d never heard of anyone being allergic to before. I had not eaten in over two weeks when I went to see my doctor, and he brought up the possibility of depression, which I avidly denied, because, after all, I was a Christian and didn’t believe in such things. But the more I pondered that over the next few days, I knew the answer, and made the choice to stop it, and within a few days, my system had returned to “normal” – whatever that is. The end result – my body was so worn down that I nearly passed out and ended up miscarrying a few months later. But still, I hadn’t faced everything yet. Over the next few years, I kept having severe rises in heart rate: I was having panic attacks. When I realized what was going on, I finally said ENOUGH!!!!! I finally came to the point where I gave it all to the Lord and just said “phooey” on all this depression stuff. (This was in 2000) Have I had panic attacks since then? Oh yes, my heart tries to take over, but I just said NO! Finally, I have not had a panic attack since at least 2001 – (I was averaging one every few days.)
Someone might say, “but that’s just you!” I say flat out No! There are many others, many I personally know, who have testimonies that are even more dramatic (depression – panic attacks, etc), and yet, have faced it the same way. So what was the true cause of all this mess – I had made several choices. This might not be very popular with so-called “therapist” who seem to be always trying to get us to blame others for our problems, but the root of depression is a choice.
– A choice to hold a grudge – instead of forgive (Matthew 6:12-15)
– A choice to focus on the negative – instead of being thankful for all the blessing I have (Read John 3:16, 1John 5:11-13, Philippians 4:19,)
– A choice to blot God and his Providence from my mind (read Romans 8:28)
– A choice to focus on myself – rather than look at ways to be a blessing to others – and not expecting anything in return (not even a thank you) (Focusing on ourselves will always wind up in depression – just read Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Why would I want to focus on that for?
This list could go on and on, but I think you can get a pretty good picture of what I’m driving at. Depression is a choice to focus on self and forget God – and it is easy to do! I will even state further, that God calls it SIN – that may seem harsh to some, but I will back that up in the Biblical Study portion of this page.
Many will argue that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. “Specialists” in this area are still divided. When did the chemical imbalance occur, and why? Was it prior to the depression? Or was it due to the depression. I can tell you assuredly that my “chemical imbalance” was a cause of my wilful choice to be depressed, and my own fault. There may be a few actual cases were a physiological problem is the issue, but if the truth were known, how many of them would actually cause the depression and not vice-versa?
Let me make it very clear, there are mentally handicapped individuals with severe problems. I am not minimizing their state at all. They have a genuine problem, but did you ever notice how happy they are?
Do I not have anything that could “drive” me to depression? By the world’s standards, yes, but not as a Christian. Once I finally made the choice to focus on the Lord and all his blessings, instead of myself and my perceived difficulties, my perspective on everything changed. I just have too much to be thankful for!
Here’s some examples of what the Lord has done for my family and I. I could list some that are specific to us, but I don’t want them to be used as an opportunity to accuse the Lord and say “but He doesn’t do that for me!” You must look at your own life and see the many blessing you have. So I have chosen to list blessings that are available to all who will make the choice to accept these blessings.
– He’s given all of us a precious love letter, the Bible, to be our comfort, our guide, a source of inspiration, and so much more. “For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” (Psalm 48:14) “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven”.(Psalm 119:89) – verses just too numerous to list – just read your Bible, the book of Psalms in particular.
– He’s left His children the Holy Ghost to comfort us and to intercede for us when sorrow grips our heart so much we can’t even speak. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26) “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”. (Romans 8:26) I could go on and on, but even if the Lord never gave me another good thing is this life, He, most of all, has offered to, not just myself, but all, the greatest gift of all, that can never fade away:
– Eternal life, and a home in Heaven when I die, not because I’m anything special, but because He loved me, and paid for my sins on the cross of Calvary. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1John 5:11-13)
You might say, “Stopping depression isn’t that easy!” but it is. Just like salvation, getting out of bed, or anything else, it’s a choice. Now it’s your choice too!
Biblical Study Portion
Now you may be able to argue about my personal opinion, but please read on. After you read the following study, there will be no ground for arguing. For you not to understand some points, I have no problem elaborating on, but I won’t compromise or excuse away God’s Word. This is by no means a verse by verse study on the issue. That would literally take volumes, but my hope and prayer is that, by the time you finish reading this study, you will be convinced of how unscriptural “depression” is, and that you will have enough of a foundation to ward off this sin and to rebuke the devourer (Satan) as he tries to get you into a situation where you are not able to be the Christian the Lord desires you to be.
There is not a single instance where depression is condoned, or tolerated by God. On the contrariwise, His children were often rebuked for having the mulligrubs. (The Lord refers to it as murmuring, disputing, unthankfulness, rebellion, and considers the latter as serious as idolatry.) That in itself is a further study I’ll try to link in at another time, otherwise this study is going to turn into a book, but I’ll briefly summarize it with this verse:
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”1Samuel 15:23
The Lord doesn’t seem to give much room for arguing, does He? Doing a study on this presents its difficulties, especially since the word depression is never used in the Bible. That in itself is quite remarkable. There were instances recorded where individuals behaved in such a manner as the definition below describes, but the Lord never bothers giving it a name. I’ve had to look for somewhat close, but not true-synonyms, such as wearied, troubled, distressed, grief, discouraged, but still, none carry the implication of depression.
Webster’s Dictionary: (I will just deal with the definition that would be referred to as the depression that weighs individuals down so much, their functioning is impaired.) Depression: DEJECTION (2) a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant in crease or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feeling of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.
Strong’s Concordance: – only listings that pertain to this study will be listed. Weary – 1573 (NT) – ekkakeo – from 1537 and 2556; to be (bad or) weak, i.e. (by implication) to fail (in heart): – faint, be weary
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
2Thessalonians 3:13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
Troubled – (OT) 926 – bâhâl, 6031 – ânâh, (NT) 1298 – diatarasso, 1438 heautou. Stated simply, the definitions imply a self-inflicted state of agitation, anxiety, and so on. “heautou” in particular focuses exclusively on this inward focus.
I hasten to say that the verse, John 11:33 “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, ” is speaking about our sinless Saviour as he wept for Mary’s sorrow over the temporary loss of Lazarus. “Weep with them that weep” Romans 12:15. This definitely has nothing to do with modern day “depression”. Our Lord continued in His work, nothing stopping Him.
Distressed – (OT) 5065 – nâgas – This definition is quite the eye opener, dealing with this state being a taskmaster – anybody remember the Israelites in Egypt? 1Samuel 13:6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. What an awesome application to this study. The children of Israel in this passage were not following the Lord (they had just demanded a king – against God’s will, and when faced with a battle next to their new king (Saul), they fled. Quite the contrast to the attitude of Paul “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
Grief – bitterness, trouble, suffering physical or mental pain or sorrow, to be in heaviness, sad, sorry, groaning Discourage(d) – This is perhaps the closest of all the definitions, with the implication of being so burdened by the circumstance that it leads to a debilitating state where nothing gets accomplished. Let us look at these instances. Numbers 21:4 / 32:7,9, Deuteronomy 1:28, Colossians 3:21- The Old Testament references speak about the children of Israel’s refusal to go in and possess the Promised Land. Hope you all remember the result of that rebellion – wandering in the wilderness 40 years. (I personally don’t want to go there!) All these passages deal with the heart of the people being discouraged to the point of inaction or improper action because they took their eyes off the Lord. They lost their focus and rebelled against the Lord, hence the result.
In contrast: Again dealing with the children of Israel.
Deuteronomy 1:21″Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.”
I think that’s pretty self-explanatory, but, consider – where’s the focus, “the Lord thy God… the LORD God”. In other words, keeping our eyes on the Lord, and off our inadequacies, is the solution to all our problems and obstacles.
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” 2 Corinthians 3:5
“He (the Lord) shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.” Isaiah 42:4
The Lord doesn’t get discouraged (depressed), so what’s our excuse?
The above definitions and verses give enough of a backing to what I’ve been saying, that depression is a choice – a choice to sin! Still let us go over the results of these circumstances:
The children of Israel were too discouraged to go into the Promised Land. Read Numbers 13 and 14. God was ready to wipe them all out, and start afresh with Moses alone. Yet, when the man of God interceded, the Lord spared them, but the consequence of their sin was to wander 40 years in the wilderness for their “murmuring”, “provoking” against the Lord.
The children of Israel did not want the Lord as their ruler over them anymore, so they demanded of Samuel a king. The man of God wasn’t too happy about it, but he checked with the Lord, and, in order to teach them the consequences of wanting their own way, the Lord let them have their request.
Beware what you ask for – you might just get it so the Lord can teach you a hard lesson.
When the Israelites did get their king, and the battle against the enemy was nigh, their strength failed them and they were so scared they hid. Doesn’t quite line up with God’s promise to set to flight the enemy. Leviticus 26:7, 8, Joshua 23:10. But it does line up with what God said would happen when his people turned away from Him. (Verses too numerous to expound on, but I’m sure we could all easily contribute a few, like Leviticus 26:14 till the end of the chapter. (A search on the word “woe” would be a good indicator.”)
Examples of the Proper Approach to Trials
In contrast, another wonderful example on how we are to deal with overwhelming situations comes again from our Lord, in Gethsemane, as he foresaw the agony which He was to endure on the cross.
Matthew 26:38 “Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.”
Was what the Lord about to endure, grievous? Of course!
“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:44
But who did He go to, and what was His attitude?
“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Mathew 26:39.
He went to our Heavenly Father and said repeatedly “not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Vs 39, 42, 44.
Jesus did not let Satan or this temptation to give up side track Him from the cross, but He prayed and accepted the Father’s will. Some will say, “But that was our sinless Saviour, and I am unable to deal with situations that way!” I know by scripture that that’s a cop out, but, let us look at examples in the life of a man, the Apostle Paul (Saul of Tarsus) and what his approach was to the great trials and afflictions he endured.
Saul of Tarsus: (definition = pride) A name that, at the first, inspired fear and dread in Christians, but spoke of boldness and zealousness to the Jews; then, later became a name that inspired Christians to greater service for the Lord, and drove the Jews to great wrath. What a contrast for an individual! Paul, (so named by the Lord) became what some have termed the greatest missionary of all time. He served the Lord with as much, if not more fervour, than he had served his Jewish traditions. This man also was not without great trials of afflictions.
The Apostle Paul (definition = little) is a wonderful example of a “sinner saved by grace” who was mightily used of the Lord. Please read the book of Acts thoroughly to get a good understanding of exactly what he endured for the Lord. A full study on the life of Paul would also help all of us to not “think more highly of ourselves than we ought”.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3
In 2 Corinthians, he lists some of his trials. Realize he is actually using this list as a means to bring to shame those who glory in the tribulations they go through, as though that were to make them more of a Christian, or more special, etc. Read the previous verses of the chapter to get the full story.
2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. 32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. You’ll say, “see, he’s proud of what he’s endured.”
Let me clarify by continuing with his comments in the next chapter.
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. Notice how Paul was thankful for the “thorn in the flesh” and all his other trials, not because they made him special, but because it kept him humble.
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 1Timothy 1:15
He didn’t get down in the dumps, and allow these difficulties to give him an excuse not to serve the Lord. He just kept pressing on.
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
Notice his comments in Philippians 2:17 “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.”
And Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
Do you kinda get the idea that he was thankful even in the trials, and take note, he wrote the book of Philippians while in prison!!!!!!!!!
Also, please read Hebrews Chapter 11, and read how many times the word “Faith” is used. Then try to continue with your excuses as to why you have a right to be depressed.
I’ll end with the following poem.
He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End!
He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all!
He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times.
He always was, He always is, and He always will be…
Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone!
He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can’t understand him,
The armies can’t defeat Him,
The schools can’t explain Him, and
The leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him,
The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him, and
The people couldn’t hold Him!
Nero couldn’t crush Him, Hitler couldn’t silence Him,
The New Age can’t replace Him,
and Donahue can’t explain Him away!
He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
He is Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.
His ways are right, His word is eternal,
His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me!
He is my Redeemer, He is my Savior,
He is my Guide, and He is my Peace!
He is my Joy, He is my Comfort,
He is my Lord, and He rules my life!
I serve Him because
His bond is love, His burden is light,
and His goal for me is abundant life.
I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise,
the power of the powerful, the ancient of days,
the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders,
the overseer of the overcomers,
and the sovereign Lord
of all that was and is and is to come.
And if that seems impressive to
you, try this for size:
His goal is a relationship with ME!
He will never leave me, never forsake me, never mislead me,
never forget me, never overlook me,
and never cancel my appointment in His appointment book!
When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home!
He is everything for everybody,
everywhere, every time, and every way.
He is God, He is faithful. I am His, and He is mine!
My Father in heaven can whip the father of this world.
So, if you’re wondering why I feel so secure, understand this…
He said it and that settles it.
God is in control, I am on His side, and
that means all is well with my soul.
Everyday is a blessing, for
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