uncertainty

~Jesus Is Working It Out- Hallelujah~ Congrats Wifey

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Everything about me is a contradiction, and so is everything about everybody else. We are made out of oppositions; we live between two poles. There’s a philistine and an aesthete (a person who has or affects to have a special appreciation of art and beauty) in all of us, and a murderer and a saint. You don’t reconcile the poles. You just recognize them.

Orson Welles

Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.

Carl Sandburg

Almost without exception, people and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Though we should know better, we continue to manufacture worries and nurse fears. Yet anxiety is nothing more than wasting today’s time and resources to clutter up tomorrow’s possibilities with yesterday’s struggles. In spite of that, it remains for some a continual preoccupation. This post will  takes a straight look at this energy-draining reality. By seeing it at work in another’s life, we may gain sufficient perspective to get through the tough stuff of anxiety. Stands the reason of my joy about my wife success thus far. She has suffered anxiety of life in wanting to complete school, she has suffered turmoil due to wanting to feel the sensationalism of operating as a substance abuse counselor and Psychology clinician within her own company “Second Chance Alliance”. She experiences anxiety from going to class under adverse challenges all the while wanting to cross the finish line of graduation. I am so proud of her holding her position in Christ as a mom and wife and grandmother that is a full time student trying to breakthrough the stigma’s of a unforgiving society and create change for her family and others.

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I am Innocent until proven guilty…                  Maymie Chandler-Pratt Bio                                 7/9/2015 2:46:23 PM

Hello Instructor Dougherty,

My name is Maymie Chandler-Pratt and I am 53 years young. I currently reside in Southern California where it never rains, it is always sunny, and the crime rate is high and our court systems are overrun with all types of cases, mostly drug cases. I have been married for many years to the same man, my husband Aaron who is an ex Navy Seal with many issues stemming from his 13 years of service and nine campaigns and 7 months as a POW in Libya and has been diagnosed with PTSD and Schizo-affective Disorder. I too was in the Army and even though I saw no war, because of my husband’s issues I too have been diagnosed with PTSD and Schizo-affective disorder by association, Together we share a total of 10 children, 2 are deceased, two are in prison; our daughter Parris for life with no possibility of ever getting out and our son Lee who was sentenced to 15 years with an L. The other 6 are working, and attending college. Our youngest son is 19 and 6′ 6″ tall.

I started attending Argosy in 2011 and in January 2016 I will graduate with my BA in psychology with and emphasis on Substance Abuse Counseling. I chose this career because of my 20 plus years of being addicted to crack cocaine and my own stint in prison for 7 years due to my addictive behaviors. After being released from prison I was placed in a 1453 state mandated drug program where I met up with my counselor who had also been in prison with me. While there she told me that I too should become a substance abuse counselor. My belief after witnessing the healing power of “My higher power” in which I choose to call God, I was convinced that if I could do it then I could help others like me to do it too.

I feel that with my extensive criminal background, I have a lot of experience with the criminal court systems, but I am no expert and I want to be even more enlightened now as a professional as I was as a criminal. I look forward to working with you over the next five weeks.

See you on the boards…May Pratt

Five months until this temptation to sin by having anxiety will be a hurdle we both are excited to jump..Thanks to all who have been apart of this journey.

Several years ago the National Anxiety Center in Maplewood, New Jersey, released the “Top Ten Anxieties for the 1990s.” The list included AIDS, drug abuse, nuclear waste, famine, and the federal deficit. Since then, in the light of September 11, 2001, the center has revised its list to put “global terrorism” as the leading source of anxiety. Today, we could add the worries of a full-scale war, the threat of nuclear attack from North Korea or China, the risk of losing a good job, and maybe the disquieting thoughts of growing old alone and unwanted.

We all have different lists, but our deep, relentless worries carry a similar effect. They make us uneasy. They steal smiles from our faces. They cast dark shadows on our futures by spotlighting our shameful pasts. They pickpocket our peace and kidnap our joy.

What is anxiety?

Throughout my more than 40 years of christian ministry, whenever I’ve taught or spoken on the topic of anxiety, I’ve always highlighted the relevant counsel of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians. Type the words worry or anxiety into the search engine of my heart, and Philippians 4 quickly flashes on my mind:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:4-7).

Reading this passage, we immediately discover a four-word command that could be rendered, literally, “Stop worrying about anything!” The word translated “anxious” comes from the Greek verb merimnao, meaning “to be divided or distracted.” In Latin the same word is translated anxius, which carries the added nuance of choking or strangling. The word also appears in German as wurgen, from which we derive our English word worry. The tough stuff of anxiety threatens to strangle the life out of us, leaving us asphyxiated by fear and gasping for hope.

Jesus used similar terms when He referred to worry in His parable of the sower inMark 4. The Master Illustrator painted a picture in the minds of His listeners of a farmer sowing seed in four types of soil. In that parable He mentions a seed being sown among thorns. While doing so He underscores both the real nature and the destructive power of anxiety. Jesus said, “Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop” (v. 7; emphasis added). Later, when the disciples asked Jesus about the meaning of the parable, He interpreted His own words. Regarding the seed sown among thorns, He explained, “These are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (vv. 18-19).

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WORK IT OUT “JESUS”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

According to the gospel accounts, here are the miracles Jesus performed. Though this is an incomplete list according to John 21:25

: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

Not Without Hope

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Exodus 6:1-13
The Message (MSG)
6 God said to Moses, “Now you’ll see what I’ll do to Pharaoh: With a strong hand he’ll send them out free; with a strong hand he’ll drive them out of his land.”

2-6 God continued speaking to Moses, reassuring him, “I am God. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as The Strong God, but by my name God (I-Am-Present) I was not known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the country in which they lived as sojourners. But now I’ve heard the groanings of the Israelites whom the Egyptians continue to enslave and I’ve remembered my covenant. Therefore tell the Israelites:

6-8 “I am God. I will bring you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I will rescue you from slavery. I will redeem you, intervening with great acts of judgment. I’ll take you as my own people and I’ll be God to you. You’ll know that I am God, your God who brings you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I’ll bring you into the land that I promised to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and give it to you as your own country. I AM God.”

9 But when Moses delivered this message to the Israelites, they didn’t even hear him—they were that beaten down in spirit by the harsh slave conditions.

10-11 Then God said to Moses, “Go and speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt so that he will release the Israelites from his land.”

12 Moses answered God, “Look—the Israelites won’t even listen to me. How do you expect Pharaoh to? And besides, I stutter.”

13 But God again laid out the facts to Moses and Aaron regarding the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he again commanded them to lead the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

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Sixteen Tons”, written by Merle Travis and recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford, became one of America’s most popular songs in the mid-1950s. People seemed to identify with this coal miner’s lament about feeling trapped and unable to change his situation no matter how hard he worked. Coal miners often lived in company-owned houses and were paid in “scrip”-coupons valid only at the company-owned store. Even if summoned to heaven, the miner said, he couldn’t go because he owed his soul to the company store.

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That sense of hopeless resignation may help us understand the feelings of the Hebrew people during their four hundred years of bondage in Egypt. When Moses told them of God’s promise to release them from slavery, they didn’t listen to him “because of anguish of spirit”. They were so far down they couldn’t look up.

But God did something for them that they could not do for themselves. And the Lord’s miraculous deliverance of His people foreshadowed His powerful intervention on our behalf through His Son, Jesus Christ. It was when “we were powerless to help ourselves that Christ died for sinful men” (Romans 5:6 Phillips). When life is at its lowest ebb, we are not without hope because of the wonderful grace of God.

When trouble seeks to rob your very breath,
When tragedy hits hard and steals your days,
Recall that Christ endured the sting of death;
He gives us hope, and merits all our praise.


No one is hopeless whose hope is in God…

This Is My Doing….

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1 Kings 12
The Message (MSG)

22-24 At this time the word of God came to Shemaiah, a man of God: “Tell this to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, along with everyone in Judah and Benjamin and anyone else who is around: This is God’s word: Don’t march out; don’t fight against your brothers the Israelites; go back home, every last one of you; I’m in charge here.” And they did it; they did what God said and went home.

Knowing that everything has to go by my “father” in heaven, I’ve purposed my thoughts to believe that disappointments of my life are simply the hidden appointments of love from my God. My family, I have a message for you tonight. Let me whisper it in your ear so any storm clouds that may arise will shine with glory, and the rough places you may have to walk will be made smooth. It is only four words, but let them sink into your inner being, and use them as a pillow to rest your weary head.”This is my doing.”

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Have you ever realized that whatever concerns you concerns Me too?”For whoever touches the apple of [My] eye”( Zech. 2:8). “You are precious and honored in my sight”(Isa. 43:4). Therefore it is My special delight to teach you. I want you to learn when temptation attacks you, and the enemy comes in like a pent-up flood, that “this is my doing” and that your weakness needs My strength, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you.

Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, never ask your opinion, always push you aside? “This is my doing.” I am the God of circumstances, “I am in charge.” You did not come to this place by accident–you are exactly where I meant for you to be.

Have you not asked Me to make you humble? Then see that I have placed you in the perfect school where this lesson is taught. Your circumstances and the people around you are only being used to accomplish My will.

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Are you having problems with money, finding it hard to make ends meet? “This is my doing,” for I am the One who keeps your finances, and I want you to learn to depend upon Me. My supply is limitless and I will meet all your needs. I want you to prove My promises so no one may say, “You did not trust in the Lord your God”.

Are you experiencing a time of sorrow? “This is my doing.” I am ” a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering. I have allowed your earthly comforters to fail you, so that by turning to Me you may receive “eternal encouragement and good hope.” Have you longed to do some great work for Me but instead have been set aside on a bed of sickness and pain? “This is my doing” I am in charge. You were so busy I could not get your attention, and I wanted to teach you some of my deepest truths.

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“They also serve who only stand and wait.” In fact, some of My greatest workers are those physically unable to serve, but who have learned to wield the powerful weapon of prayer. Tonight I place a cup of holy oil in your hands. Use it freely, My children. Anoint with it every new circumstance, every word that hurts you, every interruption that makes you impatient, and every weakness you have. The pain will leave as you learn to see Me in all things.

“This is from me,” the Savior said,
As bending low He kissed my brow,
For One who loves you thus has led.
Just rest in Me, be patient now,
Your Father knows you have need of this,
Though, why perhaps you cannot see–
Grieve not for things you’ve seemed to miss.
The thing I send is best for thee.”

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Then, looking through my tears, I plead,
“Dear Lord, forgive, I did not know,
It will not be hard since You do tread,
Each path before me here below.”
And for my good this thing must be,
His grace sufficient for each test.
So still I’ll sing, “Whatever be God’s way for me is always best.”

I Thank God For Freeing Me From Depression – Climbing Out of the Valley of Gloom

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skittlesdepression
Christ was continually receiving from the Father that He might communicate to us. “The word which ye hear,” He said, “is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.” John 14:24. “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” Matt. 20:28. Not for Himself, but for others, He lived and thought and prayed. From hours spent with God He came forth morning by morning, to bring the light of heaven to men. Daily He received a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the early hours of the new day the Lord awakened Him from His slumbers, and His soul and His lips were anointed with grace, that He might impart to others. His words were given Him fresh from the heavenly courts, words that He might speak in season to the weary and oppressed. “The Lord God hath given Me,” He said, “the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned.” Isa. 50:4.

Matthew 26:36-46

The Message (MSG)
36-38 Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”
39 Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?”
40-41 When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”
42 He then left them a second time. Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.”
43-44 When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open. This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time.
45-46 When he came back the next time, he said, “Are you going to sleep on and make a night of it? My time is up, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s get going! My betrayer is here.”

Being confronted with life challenges in regards to an unforgiving nation and mistakes that try to plague my peace I suffer depression some days beyond measure. It is amazing how after God blesses us with a new day of new mercies and plenty of grace for the blessed day how we still get caught up in ourselves. I am at this moment thankful for His grace getting me to this portion of the closing hours of this day. I am dedicated to speak and write this post in hopes to sprinkle some hope and knowledge into someone else’s life. Be magnified my Lord through my hands tonight I pray In Jesus name.

I hope this doesn’t depress you but here are some interesting facts about depression:
o Nearly 19 million Americans or about 10 percent of the US populations age 18 or over will suffer some form of depression each year.
o Everyone will at some time in their life be affected by depression—either their own or someone else’s.
o PRESCHOOLERS are the fastest market for antidepressants! Over 1 million preschoolers are clinically depressed. The annual rate of increase for depression among children is 23%
o Depression results in more absenteeism than almost any other physical disorder and costs employers more than US$51 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity, not including high medical and pharmaceutical bills.
o Antidepressants work for 35 to 45% of the depressed population, while more recent figures suggest as low as 30%.
o Standard antidepressants, such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, have recently been revealed to have serious risks, and are linked to suicide, violence, psychosis, abnormal bleeding and brain tumors.
o Antidepressants medications work only as well (or less) than placebos.
Depression Facts and Stats By Bob Murray, PhD and Alicia Fortinberry, MS http://www.upliftprogram.com/depression_stats.html

ILLUSTRATION: The story is told how the great preacher and reformer Martin Luther once spent three days in a black depression over something that had gone wrong. On the third day his wife brought him mourning clothes to put on.
“Who’s dead?” Luther asked her.
“God,” she replied.

Luther rebuked her, saying, “What do you mean, God is dead? God cannot die.”
“Well,” she replied, “the way you’ve been acting I was sure He had!”
How can we find freedom from depression? What does it take to climb out of the valley of gloom? This morning we are going to discover six practical steps we can take to find freedom from depression, and we are going to find these steps out of the valley of gloom in an unlikely place—the life of Jesus.
But first before we look at the six steps to finding freedom from depression, let’s start by looking at six general causes of depression-
I. Causes of Depression
1. PHYSICAL Many times our depression is the result of physical causes.
a) Sometimes we just get caught up in the maddening pace of life. Things that are supposed to make our lives easier sometimes only add to our ‘to do’ list, and when the computer or other gadgets don’t work like they are supposed to it just adds to our stress.

BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATION: Elijah’s story in 1 Kings 18-19 is an example of depression brought on by physical exhaustion. Elijah had won the battle with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Then when he was threatened by Jezebel, Elijah ran for his life over 100 miles from Jezreel to Beersheba. There Elijah sat down and just wanted to die; his prayer was simple; “Lord I’ve had enough, just kill me because I’m no better than my ancestors. What did Elijah need? Food and rest, God sent an angel to minister to Elijah and, then God took Elijah on a 40 day journey to Mount Sinai. When Elijah got there he again sat down depressed and full of self-pity, “Lord I’m the only one left who is faithful to you.” A major part of Elijah’s depression was brought on by physical causes. If you are familiar with Elijah’s story then you may recognize some other causes of his depression as we continue.

b) Illness can be another physical cause of depression. How often when we are sick do we find ourselves feeling depressed and wanting to isolate ourselves from others?
• Psalm 88:15, 18 (NIV)
From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death; I have suffered your terrors and am in despair . . . You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend.

c) Sometimes we make the mistake of searching for an emotional or spiritual cause for our depression. What we may need to do is first look for a physical cause. Are we just exhausted? Are we eating right? Are we getting some exercise? If we take the necessary steps needed to keep our bodies physically healthy we may also alleviate our depression as well.

2. SENSE OF LOSS Depression can also be cause by a sense of loss.
a) The aging process can bring both physical pains and a sense of loss for the missed opportunities and regrets that can flood your mind. By just about anyone’s standards Solomon had it made; he had everything. Yet as he closes the book of Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 we find venting some of his depression caused by his sense of loss as he reflected upon his life. “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

ILLUSTRATION: As I stopped to think about this message and my life I realized that I have been depressed off and on for the last year and it all started with my sense of loss as a dad with Audrey passing on and taking the great sleep; daddy missed his little girl. But my loss was magnified because as a aspiring pastor I also lost her giftedness and ability as a pianist and worship leader—does anyone remember those first months worshiping with CD’s as the new worship team was being developed?

I also lost a great secretary. This loss brought on a lingering depression that caused me to have days that I was lethargic and unmotivated to do anything; like Elijah I just wanted to quit. Now there were other causes for my depression; some of it was physical. I had times when I was doing too much and was not getting enough rest. Some of my depression was a result of a spiritual battle. Pastors are sometimes like the kid in grade school with the kick me sign on his/her back, and the devil loves to kick at us in lots of different ways.

b) Loss comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes and happens in lots of different ways. My loss seems rather small compared to those experienced by others.
o a mother and father who lost a child to cancer, as I did
o the husband who stands at the grave of his wife having been killed by a unknown sickness as I was
o the employee who is let go due to downsizing just months before his retirement
o the husband or wife who just found out their spouse has been having an affair
o the individual looking at a pile of bills with an empty checkbook
o the empty nest when the last child leaves home.

c) The list of losses goes on and on. Whether big or small in comparison to what others may have lost your loss is personal and causes you pain. What loss have you experienced that may be causing you to be depressed? Maybe your loss isn’t even tangible; maybe it’s just the loss of a dream.

BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATION: Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet, is grieved by the loss of Israel’s homeland through their captivity and exile into the nation of Babylon. Jeremiah’s overwhelming depression, sadness and tears are poured out in the book of Lamentations. The book has 5 chapters; the first two and the last two all have 22 verses. The Hebrew alphabet also has 22 letters and each verse of these opening and closing chapters of Lamentations begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Chapter 3 of Lamentations is 66 verses long and Jeremiah repeats his alphabetical pattern 3 times in this middle chapter. So all together Jeremiah goes through the Hebrew alphabet seven times! It is Jeremiah’s way of mourning his loss—from A to Z—over and over again.

3. ENVIRONMENT AND CIRCUMSTANCES Your environment and circumstances can be another cause of depression.
a) Some people have a hard time living with clutter; they would sometimes find themselves being depressed living at our house. My wife says the whole house feels different if the bed gets made! At those times when the clutter is piling up we will sometimes have a 10 minute clean up (it’s really amazing how much you can get done when 7 people go to work for 10 minutes putting things away). When we are all done the house looks and feels better.

b) Job is an example of how depression can overwhelm us because of our environment and circumstances. In a single day his 10 children are killed in a terrible accident and all of his wealth is taken away from him. Then the next day Job gets sick; he develops boils on his skin that he scrapes with broken pottery. His wife tells him to curse God and die, and his three friends and a smart-mouthed youngster have nothing but bad things to say about him. It’s no wonder that Job says, “Why did I not perish at birth and die as I cam from the womb?” (Job 3:11 EMTV)

4. POOR SELF CONCEPT Another common cause of depression is having a poor self concept.
a) Some people suffer from stink’n think’n! They are unhappy about everything, but if you can get them to be honest for just a minute they are probably most unhappy with themselves; they have a poor self concept or self esteem.
b) A healthy self concept is made up of three things:

o Your sense of IDENTITY. We are satisfied with who we are as a person.
o Your sense of WORTH. Without being boastful or proud we know that we are valuable to God and other people.
o Your sense of COMPETENCE. We have the self confidence to know we can succeed and do what is asked of us.

c) Many people struggle with one or more of these aspects of self esteem. They may be somewhat satisfied with their identity as an individual, but lack any sense of worth or confidence. Some people have competence but lack worth or identity because they have associated this with their job and the things they can do, but are not happy with that.

BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATION: Naomi is a perfect example of how a poor self concept breeds depression. In the opening chapter of Ruth, Naomi gives up on life and on God. Her identity was stripped from her through the loss of her husbands and sons. She feels utterly worthless and feels helpless to do anything to make things better. When Naomi returns home to Bethlehem she asks her relatives and friends to start calling her MARA (bitter) instead of Naomi (pleasant, lovely, delightful). (Ruth 1:20)
d) Maybe you would like to change your name too. Perhaps you would like to be known as Brother (or Sister) Bitter. Life has thrown you a curve ball and you no longer feel that you are worth anything. Such a perspective is a breeding ground for depression.
5. SPIRITUAL FAILURE Sin or spiritual failure can make us depressed.
a) Another name for this kind of depression is guilt. As we saw last week the depression associated with guilt can be good when it is caused by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I failed to mention last week that some people never sense a freedom from sin because they have never let themselves grieve over their sin with a godly sorrow. Such godly sorrow or depression leads to repentance that brings God’s forgivingness and a renewal of joy. Unfortunately, too may of us run from anything that feels bad and we never grieve over our sin.
b) Remember what David said in Psalm 32 that describes the depth of his depression brought on by his sin with Bathsheba?
• Psalm 32:3-4 (MsgB)
[3] When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. [4] The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up.
c) If your depression is brought on by lingering guilt then you need to get a copy of last week’s sermon Freedom From Guilt. Don’t let your guilt drive a wedge between you and God; that’s Satan’s purpose for guilt to separate you from God. Run to God and find freedom from your guilt and the depression that comes with it.
6. SPIRITUAL WARFARE Perhaps the most overlooked cause of depression is spiritual warfare.

ILLUSTRATION: Personally I know that the greatest cause of the depression that I have battled over the last year has been a direct result of spiritual warfare. As a fallen minister of the faith I am plagued by not being good enough. Therefore, Satan continues to try to pick me off as contender of the faith. There have been many times that I have wanted to quit in the last year, but I stuck it out. (I’ve learned that as a minister you never resign on a Monday or in the summer because those are times the enemy will beat you down the most.) I’m thankful that God has used many of you to pray for me—even when I didn’t know it. God has heard your prayers and is helping me to overcome the depression Satan has tried to use to cripple me. I’m not going to let the devil win! How many of you would like to help me make this year even better than last year? Let’s take it to the devil this fall and see God do even greater things in and through our church. Let’s not give up.

a) Many doctors and psychologists won’t think of spiritual warfare as a cause for your depression. However I’m here to tell you that spiritual warfare may be the primary cause of your depression. It is not the only cause; Satan will use these other causes to try to beat you down. However, when we know the cause of our depression and recognize how the devil will try to use these things against us, then God can give us wisdom to know how to break free from depression. God want to show us how to climb out of the Valley of Gloom.

b) We discover freedom from depression by learning to follow the footsteps and example of Jesus. Some of you might say, “But Jesus was never depressed!” In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was engaged in perhaps His greatest spiritual battles with Satan. Jesus’ struggle with the devil in Gethsemane was greater than His temptation following the forty days in the wilderness. This was the deciding moment for Jesus. Would he be obedient to the will of the Father and go to the cross or would Jesus try to find a way to escape death? In His struggle Jesus was depressed.
• Mark 14:33 (NIV)
He [Jesus] began to be deeply distressed and troubled.
He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. (The Message)
Jesus began to be horror-stricken and desperately depressed. (JB Phillips)
• Matthew 26:37 (Dar)
He began to be sorrowful and deeply depressed.
c) In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus not only battled depression, but He also shows us how to climb out of the Valley of Gloom. Jesus show us how we can be free from depression.
II. Jesus’ path to freedom from depression. Six steps to climb out of the Valley of Gloom.
1. Jesus did not isolate Himself.
• Matthew 26:36-37 (NIV)

[36] Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane . . . [37] He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
a) Jesus did not try to win His battle with depression all by Himself. Jesus let others in on the sorrow and grief that filled His heart that night. Jesus surrounded Himself with friends.
b) How often do we do the exact opposite? Too often Christians are imprisoned by themselves because they believe the lie that their depression should be kept as a secret—a deep dark shameful secret that we hide from everyone. When we get depressed we isolate ourselves from other people and try to ‘pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.’

• Galatians 6:2 (NLT)
Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
c) Paul’s primary focus was for us to reach out to others and help them in their time of need, but there is a flip side to this verse. Those in need must be willing to share their pain with others! We are not encouraged to go it alone or to be strong and make it in our own strength. We are to join hands with a friend and share our difficulties with each other.
d) Jesus was open and honest about the trial He was facing; He did not let His depression isolate Him from others. Will we follow His example and not isolate ourselves from others? Sharing our depression with someone else is the first step out of the Valley of Gloom.

2. Jesus did not put on a mask and pretend everything was okay.
• Matthew 26:38 (NIV)
Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

a) Jesus not only was with His disciples, but He let them in on the struggle He was going through. Jesus avoided the temptation to put on a mask and say, “I’m the Son of God. I can’t let anyone know I’m hurting because they all look up to me. The disciples just can’t know the truth.”
b) Jesus didn’t just put on a happy face. He did not say He was fine when His heart was being broken in two. Jesus simply shared with His disciples His need.
c) Notice too that Jesus didn’t just tell everyone about His need. Jesus used wisdom about who He shared His need with. Jesus asked His disciples to pray, but then He pulled Peter, James and John aside and shared more openly with them. It was Peter James and John who went with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration and saw Jesus in all of His glory and heard the voice of the Father say, “This is my Son; listen to Him.” Now Peter, James and John are the ones brought into Jesus’ Valley of Gloom. It was the disciples who knew Jesus best that He shared more of the details of His depression and the hardship He faced there in Gethsemane.
d) Use wisdom as you share your depression and heartache with others. That doesn’t mean you put on a mask and tell folks who don’t know you as well that you are just fine. Ask them to pray for you; tell them you are in need of God’s strength. But find a trusted friend that you can be open with who will really pray with you about your need.

3. Jesus prayed and was honest with God.

• Matthew 26:39 (NIV)
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

a) Jesus told the Father about His heartache. Understand that Jesus did not come to God with just a two sentence prayer. Jesus spent an hour in prayer pouring out His heart to God. Jesus didn’t hid anything from the Father; instead Jesus was honest and let the Father know exactly what caused His heart to be heavy.
b) I am amazed how some Christians want to try to keep a secret from God! They go through the motions of a worship service, singing songs, offering up lukewarm prayers, and sleeping through a sermon, only to leave with the same problems and difficulties that they came to church with. And their personal prayer closet is no different; if they even bother to take time to pray at all. Be honest with God

• Psalm 51:16-17 (MsgB)
[16] Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. [17] I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

• Psalm 18:6 (NIV)
In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.
c) Jesus showed us how to climb out of the Valley of Gloom by [1] not isolating himself from others; [2] by resisting the temptation to put on a mask, [3] by being honest with the Father in prayer and,

4. Jesus did not get trapped by bitterness or blame.

• Matthew 26:40-41 (NIV)
[40] Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. [41] “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

• Matthew 26:43-44 (NIV)

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. [44] So he left them . . .
a) The failure of His closest friends to stay away and pray with Him did not keep Jesus from climbing out of the Valley of Gloom. Jesus did not become bitter with His disciples; He didn’t hold a grudge or push them away. Jesus let them sleep and He continued to pray! He not only continued to pray about His need for strength, but He also prayed for His disciples. John 17 is Jesus longest recorded prayer; it is filled with His desire for His disciples and it is prayed in the midst of Jesus depression and sorrow. Jesus didn’t blame the disciples for His problems. Instead He prayed that God would help them!

Lets come together on this attack of our family and body of believers and stand in the gap for them in prayer. I made it this far by the prayers of church family and friends. I made it by the grace of God and you can too. I know there is someone reading this and going through some trial that makes you say I give up, but stand my friend and see the salvation of the Lord. You are at the breaking point of it all being over. Just when you give in your change is just as close. Have faith my friend until your faith has faith and materialized into your purpose. Your circumstance isn’t beyond our God’s abilities.

Never Alone

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Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.

Martin Luther


Joel 2:32
New International Version (NIV)
32 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
whom the Lord calls.[a]

So why don’t I call on His name? Why do I run to this person or that person, when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down to plot my own course and make my own plans? Why don’t I immediately place myself and my burden on the Lord? I found out this morning in being lonely and somewhat dispondent to life that running straight ahead is the best way to run, so why don’t I run directly to the living God? instead, I look in vain for deliverance everywhere else, but with God I will find it. With HIm I have His royal promise:[I] will be saved.

And with Him I never need to ask if I may call on Him or not, for the word “everyone” is all encompassing. It includes me and means anybody and everybody who calls upon His name. Therefore I will trust in this verse and immediately call on the glorious Lord who has made such a great promise. My situation is no different than anyone elses when urgentcy plagues our situation, and we cannot see how we will ever be delivered. Yet this is not our concern, for He who made the promise will find a way to keep it. My part is simply to obey His commands, not to direct His ways.I am His servant, not His advisor. I call upon Him and He will deliver me.

Hebrews 13:1-8

New International Version (NIV)
Concluding Exhortations

13 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”[a]
6 So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”[b]
7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Having been raised around family that loved the intercollegiate soccer, I ‘ve never lost my love for “The Beautiful Game.” I especially enjoy watching the English Premier League. One reason is the skill and speed with which the game is played there. Also, I love the way the fans sing in support of their beloved “sides.” For instance, Liverpool has for years had “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as its theme. How moving to hear 50,000 fans rise as one to sing the lyrics of that old standard! It’s an encouragement to players and fans alike that together they will see each other through to the end. Walk alone? Never.

The sentiment has meaning for everyone. because each of us is made for community, isolation and loneliness are among the most painful of human experiences. During painful times, our faith is vital. The child of God never needs to fear abandonment. Even if people turn on us, friends forsake us, or circumstances separate us from loved ones, we are never alone. God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.

God’s unseen presence comforts me,
I know He’s always near;
And when life’s storms besiege my soul,
He says, “My child, don’t fear.”

God’s presence with us is one of His greatest presents to us.