Thursday, July 14, 2016

In the Depths of Despair

What happens when a Christian becomes so totally depressed that there seems to be absolutely no way out? Except maybe one way.

Yes, Christians do become depressed. If you are a Christian out there in the depths of despair and afraid to reach out to someone for fear of being looked down upon, I'm here to tell you that it happens to the best of us. No matter how long you've been a Christian, or how tight your relationship with God is, there sometimes comes a point where you feel like you have no energy left and you just can't go on any longer. The weight on your shoulders can be so heavy sometimes, you feel like there's no getting out from under it.

I know that at that point, the last thing you want to hear are the usual clichés from your friends or family. I know that you already know the truth. I know that you already know that God cares and he can turn your situation around and that he has all the answers you're looking for. I also know that sometimes, all you want to do is crawl into corner, fold yourself into the fetal position and scream and cry. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, I promise you.

 What words of encouragement are there for someone who knows the truth but still feels utterly despondent? It almost feels like nothing anybody says will help you get passed this point. And that may well be true. Maybe the last thing we need at the point of total despair are words from another human being.

When I get to such a point, I shut everyone out. No matter what anyone says to me, in my head, I have a counter argument. At these times, the only person who can get through to me, is God. I have discovered that if I just press the ignore button on everything and everybody else and yell and scream and cry in His presence, I become strengthened and I can go on. Why? Because when you are in the depths of darkest despair (and I mean total darkness) God is really the only one who can drag you out. He's really the only one who knows what to say. At that point, His love goes beyond human clichés.

The Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit as our Comforter (John 14:26) and I have found that He really is the best one there is. In your darkest moments, be still in His presence, he knows just what to say, not with words, but with divine comfort, the kind that leaves you with the strength to fight another day. Do it everyday if necessary (and sometimes, it's necessary), reach out to God and let Holy Spirit be the one to pull you back from the brink. He's the one who does it best.

I pray that this day will be one where you find comfort and strength to go on. Be Blessed.

Devotions like this one and others can be found in the Soul Food Series in Kindle or paperback format. To grab a copy, click one of the images below. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

That one Thing...

One of the things that I've noticed we Christians tossing around a lot is the "get your life in order" speech.  We sit on our lofty perches as pastors,  leaders, teachers, prophets etc and shout down at people: stop sinning! Do the right thing! Trust God! Let go of that thing, God will give you better! All of these are true. Extremely true and extremely good advise.  But I have come to learn that there are people who are truly, genuinely STRUGGLING to live a holy life,  or to stay away from the ONE thing that the enemy keeps using against them.  

It is easy to say that someone isn't really saved or doesn't really love God and is enjoying their sin.  However, there is a flip side.  Everybody has something; the one thing that they almost cannot resist doing. The enemy has observed us and he knows just what that one thing is.  For someone who isn't vigilant we can get them back to doing that thing without them even realising it.  And it's not that we enjoy our sinful state.  I've seen people bawl and beg and cry out to God for months just struggling to get out of a situation.  For whatever reason, they're stuck. Their love for God is very evident but when you look at their actions you can't help but wonder if this is the truth. Maybe deeper spiritual intervention is necessary to help them break through but their love for God is genuine and say that it isn't so is to fail them.  

Why am I saying all this? It's because we as Christians need to change our approach.  Our job is to reconcile humanity to Christ,  no matter how filthy we deem them to be.  We are never to condone or encourage sin,  but we are not to cast someone aside just because we believe that they are unworthy of our help either.  More souls are lost because we turn up our noses, than because they don't hear the gospel! And who are we to do that? Sinners ourselves! In a lot of ways, we have failed at our jobs. We have ignored people who are drowning but desperately pleading for help.  We've left them alone and let them drown and justified our actions by saying that they deserved to drown and "God doesn't always strive with men".

My admonishment to us all today is to stop turning up our noses and ignoring the drowning man.  
There is more that is required of us all. 

Stay blessed everyone. 

Devotions like this one and others can be found in the Soul Food Series in Kindle or paperback format. 

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Persistent Mustard Seed Faith

The thing about being a Christian is that you don't make the decision one day and then all of a sudden become a good person living a holy life and walking in perfect communion with God.  It takes work,  actual work,  some tears,  a lot of sweat and maybe even some blood to get that point. 

That's where today's topic comes in.  You hear about mustard seed faith all the time.  You know,  the kind that moves mountains (Matthew 17:20). No there isn't a special kind of faith that we must all work to get.  We simply need to learn to have faith.  Jesus told us just how little we needed to have to move a big mountain.  I have always heard about mustard seeds and how tiny they were,  but recently I had the good fortune to hold a packet of them in my hands.  Those things can fit on the head of a pin.  In other words,  it doesn't take a whole lot of faith to make things happen in our lives. 

But what about those situations that drag on forever.  It's easy to believe God for something and then see it fixed right away,  but there are certain situations in our lives that require not just a quick fix prayer and moment of faith.  Some situations require that we believe and remain faithful for weeks,  months,  years, maybe even a decade or two. 

That's where Persistent Mustard Seed Faith comes in.  It's the kind of faith you need to move not just one mountain,  but every one that comes in your way.  It's the kind that you need to ensure not just survival but actual conquering of the situations that you may face.  It's the kind that you need EVERY morning when you wake so that you will not doubt God's purpose and plan for your life.  It's the kind that says over and over "yes Lord,  I believe you can move this new mountain".

Why do we need such persistent,  unrelenting faith? Because the enemy is persistent and unrelenting! He NEVER stops.  He will come coming and keep throwing mountains in your path.  There will be emotional mountains,  like despair but there will be others.  Like losing your job,  or blockages that will try to prevent your business from taking off. And let me tell you, "in-the-moment"  faith won't help you overcome a consistent barrage of new mountains,  what is going to help is a level of faith that is strong and persistent. 

That's what Persistent Mustard Seed Faith is.  Faith that moves mountains every day without doubting God and his plan. 

Devotions like this one and others can be found in the Soul Food Series in Kindle or paperback format. 
To grab a copy, click one of the images below. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Just One Thought

Sin begins with one thought.  Yes,  just one thought.  We Christians recognize that something is not right the second we are faced with it.  As soon as we are faced with a situation,  the Holy Spirit living inside of us alerts us to the fact that it is wrong and we should not do it.  However,  there is this moment,  the split second when you wonder,  what would it be like if I did it? The seed has been planted. 
You see,  for the true Christian,  the devil can't just say to us "do it"  because we have the Holy Spirit guiding us and saying "don't do it".  Instead,  he has to make us feel comfortable with doing the thing that we shouldn't.  So,  in the back of our minds,  the thought comes.  Of course,  at first,  you dismiss it because you know better. But the thought comes again,  and again and again until you don't realize that you are spending the entire day thinking about this thing that you know that you should not do. 

Let's use a big example, something that we all frown upon (the "big" sin).  Over the years I've always wondered how a genuine Christian man or woman finds himself/herself entwined in adultery.  I realized  that it starts with one moment when somebody other than your spouse looks a little nicer than normal one day.  You pay them a compliment and the two of you smile and leave it at that.  The devil notices the opportunity and plants the thought.  You dismiss it immediately.  The next day,  you see the person and you smile at them from across the room,  noticing how attractive they are.  Before you know it,  your mind is stewing over that attractiveness, over and over.  If you don't recognize what is happening and nip the thought at the source you have already started sliding towards the point of no return.  Slowly,  you're becoming desensitized to the fact that what you are thinking is wrong. Justification statements like "they're just my friend" slowly start to follow the thoughts that you know that you should be rebuking.  Slowly,  more thoughts, slowly,  more justification until one day,  you're not quite so comfortable but having lunch with this person that you're thinking about all the time doesn't seem like such a bad thing and of course it only goes downhill from there. 

Not all of us will find ourselves faced with a situation where we may cheat on our spouses,  however we all will be faced with situations where sin is justified in our heads long before we actually do it.  No genuine Christian actually wants to sin.  Every genuine Christian wants to live a holy life that is pleasing and acceptable to God.  However,  our enemy wants anything but that.  We are to be wise concerning his devices,  plots and plans and be ready to deal with them as they come. 

Just about every sin begins with a single errant thought.  Let's learn to recognize them and stop them at the source.  Let's learn to take control of our minds and our thought life and make it subject to the will of God and not that of the enemy. 

Have a blessed and thought controlled day. 

Devotions like this one and others can be found in the Soul Food Series in Kindle or paperback format. 
To grab a copy, click one of the images below. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Get Up!

It can be pretty difficult to move on passed heartache of any kind.  Emotional scars tend to run deep and each new one seems to reach further into the soul,  making recovery harder and harder and harder. But recovery isn't impossible.  

One thing I've learned though is that recovery will only happen if you want it to.  Depression has a way of getting worse the longer you stay in it. The more you cry, the more you sit around doing nothing and the more you stay away from the world, the worse it gets. It just hurts more to sit there and think about why you're hurting. 

People always say "get up,  shake yourself off" to others in such situations and of course it's very annoying to the person who is hurting but I've learned that as cliché as that is,  it's the only way to start the healing process. 
Of course,  there's more to healing than just forgetting your problems.  As a matter of fact, you'll run into bigger issues if you just bury stuff away,  but you can't dwell on them forever. You will only recover if you want to recover. YOU should be your own motivation.  You must want your life to improve for it to happen. You must want to move on for it to happen. You must want change for it to happen. 

My encouragement today for all us is to be your own motivation.  Be determined to rise above,  to move forward,  to grow and to change. 

Devotions like this one and others can be found in the Soul Food Series in Kindle or paperback format. 
To grab a copy, click one of the images below.