Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams should make us reflect

When a very famous individual, who has everything that most in this world think would make them happy, takes his own life, the question “what happened?” is front and center.

Robin Williams made so many people laugh and outwardly appeared to be a very happy person. Sadly that was not reality and it took him to a very dark place. I have been counseling individuals for decades and depression is many times the issue.

There are no easy answers, and when the level of depression is where Robin Williams was at, very serious action needs to take place. Many believers think because they are children of God they should never experience periods of depression. There is no Scripture that states that children of God are exempt from any of the “woes” of a fallen world.

I have seen three levels of depression.

·      Minor: Pressures that affect our emotions;
·      Normal: Problems & Pressures that affect us in a way that others will notice, as seen in

2 Corinthians 4:8–9 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

·      Major: Crushing and overwhelming circumstances which takes away all strength: Spiritual, intellectual, physical & emotional, as seen in the life of Job:

Job 7:7–10 O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness. You see me now, but not for long. You will look for me, but I will be gone. Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes, those who die will not come back. They are gone forever from their home— never to be seen again.
Job 9:21 “I am innocent, but it makes no difference to me— I despise my life.
Job 10:1 “I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. My bitter soul must complain.

In a book called Spiritual Diagnosis this definition is given: Depression is a persistent mood that is characterized by intense feelings of inadequacy, sadness, hopelessness, pessimism, irritability, apprehension, and a decreased interest in or ability to enjoy normal activity.

It would be right to call this a spiritual diagnosis because we are spiritual beings. We are multifaceted creations, but first and foremost we are spiritual, created in God’s image.

In my post-grad work while studying “Mood Disorders” I was required to read DSM-IV which is “the book” used to diagnose all mental illness. When depression gets to the level of making a person dysfunctional it is then being defined as Major Depressive Episode. In the DSM-IV the description is:" a period of at least 2 weeks during which there is either depressed mood or the loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities …the individual must also experience at least four additional symptoms drawn from a list that includes changes in appetite or weight, sleep, psychomotor activity; decreased energy; feelings of worthlessness or guilt; difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions."[1]

Be aware that many people use the word "depressed" to describe just a bad moment. "Depression" is not a moment nor should it be treated that way. My desire at this time would be to help any who are “feeling down” or “emotionally stressed” consider how to deal with those emotions before they snowball and lead to a much more serious situation.

In my Senior year of Bible college, I went through a time of deep emotional stress. I had just buried my mother, she was 49, I was taking 8 classes including Greek, I was running my own painting company, and I was a youth Pastor at a local church. I had too much on my plate and getting far too little sleep, which will help propel your emotions. Before I realized what was happening I found myself breaking down in tears at various times for no apparent reason. As He has done so much of my life, my God brought me some medicine when I needed it. I was in chapel and was beginning to tear up when I opened my Bible to Psalms and landed on Ps 102

Psalm 102: A Prayer of the Afflicted when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the Lord.

Hear my prayer, O Lord! And let my cry for help come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress; Incline Your ear to me; In the day when I call answer me quickly. For my days have been consumed in smoke,  And my bones have been scorched like a hearth. My heart has been smitten like grass and has withered away, Indeed, I forget to eat my bread. Because of the loudness of my groaning  My bones cling to my flesh…My days are like a lengthened shadow,  And I wither away like grass.

The Word of God pushed me to deal with my emotions with Him. I did and found joy coming back into my life. I want to share what I mean by that, but first please know Child of God you are not alone.

Thomas Goodwin (1600-1679)
"One who truly fears God, and is obedient to Him, may be in a condition of darkness, and have no light; and he may walk many days and years it that condition.

C.H. Spurgeon – 1866
`I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever gets to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to.' Twenty-one years later in 1887 he said from the same pulpit, `Personally I have often passed through this dark valley.'"

"John Henry Jowett, wrote to a friend in 1920,
`You seem to imagine I have no ups and downs but just a level and lofty stretch of spiritual attainment with unbroken joy and equanimity. By no means! I am often perfectly wretched and everything appears most murky.'

"Alexander Whyte, perhaps Scotland's greatest preacher since John Knox – he had seasons of deep depression regarding the results of his work in the pulpit or among his people.

"Martin Luther was subject to such fits of darkness that he would secret himself away for days, and his family would remove all dangerous implements from the house for fear he would harm himself. In the midst of one of these times, his wife, Katherine, entered his room dressed in mourning. Startled, Luther asked who had died. She replied that no one had, but from the way he was acting, she thought God had died!"

Even our Lord had to confront deep emotional remorse.

Mark 14:32–34 They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.”

First we have to deal with our emotions, which means facing them honestly.

Psalm 143:7 Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit.

Psalm 6:2–3  Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am pining away; Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed.  And my soul is greatly dismayed; But You, O Lord—how long?

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.

What is the cause of these emotions? I believe individuals lose their perspective. They only see the darkness of the moment and forget that in that tunnel and beyond it, is a Big God and another beginning.

Timothy LaHaye says, “of the hundreds of depressed cases I have examined, without exception they began with a disappointment or an experience in which the individual was displeased.”

1 Kings 19:4–18 … he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers…What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away…. “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

As we begin an emotional tailspin we need to seek to change our perspective. That's what God did for His prophet. The best way to do that is to reach out to someone close and have a heart to heart about what you are feeling. As you discover the key issue, you need to bring Truth to the equation and that will bring a new perspective.

Let’s look at some examples.

What if you are emotionally down because of guilt in your life?

The truth is that repentance will bring a healthy perspective.

Psalm 32:1–6 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered…When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long…I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide… And You forgave the guilt of my sin.

2 Corinthians 7:10  For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Much of depression is caused by the fact that we are hearing lies from the enemy, if we allow ourselves to believe them, it will affect our emotions.


Lie: I am alone

Matthew 28:19–20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Hebrews 13:5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”

Lie: Nothing good can come of this

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Lie: My boss/former friend/family member is my enemy

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Lie: God is being mean to me

Hebrews 12:5–11 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”...Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all...But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

There are many more. Don’t be afraid to sit with someone and discuss your emotions. As God enlightens you to what the real issues are, as you deal with them in Truth your emotions will change.

 Just a few other thoughts:

·      Turn off people with little or no faith – stop listening to them.
·      Establish a time and place to commune with the Lord
·      Stand Still: Do not make decisions in that state of mind, there is no sense of reality.
·      Stop focusing on yourself – focus on God and –even though you do not “feel” like it, begin to thank Him for His love and your life.
·      See the Eternal Picture

Romans 8:18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

·      Remember our greatest example:

1 Peter 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Who do you have in your life to talk to? If none, what are you going to do about that? Are you proactively making sure you deal with your emotions? How? When was the last time you had a good heart to heart with someone? When was the last time you had a heart to heart with the Lord?

[1] DSM-IV Page 349

Monday, August 11, 2014

Probing Proverbs: Substance over Function = Integrity!

Probing Proverbs 11:1 The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.

In this day a great presentation is what people look at, meanwhile they miss the reality of what's inside! We live such a corrupt world, especially in the world of Churchianity. 
People that claim to know Christ personally, but by their actions, their greed and dishonesty bring Him shame and damage the ones watching them. The bar must be raised to the highest point for believers on the issue of integrity. Not that any of us will be perfect, but even in how we handle our sins and failures should be an example of integrity.

We saw that integrity is valid with God. Here are some other reasons why this quality is so essential.

·      Integrity is a priority with God!

1 Kings 9:1-5 When Solomon had finished building the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do, the LORD appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. The LORD said to him: "I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. "As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, 'You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.'

What a promise!!! Remember, based on David’s life this cannot mean perfection, because David was far from that! Yet, when he did fail, even though it may have taken confrontation by God, David repented and returned – this is a heart of integrity!

Isaiah 59:12-15 For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: rebellion and treachery against the LORD, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.  Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice.

God hates ALL sin, but notice how much of what displeased God has to do with honesty and truth.

Deuteronomy 25:15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

Even their stay in the land had to do with their integrity!

·      Integrity is a Visible Characteristic

Nehemiah 7:1-2 After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers and the singers and the Levites were appointed.  I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do.

Titus 2:7-8 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Proverbs 16:13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.

Integrity is never anything a person has to say they have, it is seen!

This statement by DeBrine speaks of integrity, proper speech and words: "Live with the microphone on."

·      You alone control your Integrity

Abraham Lincoln on integrity:  "I desire to conduct the affairs of this administration that if, at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall have at least one friend left - and that friend shall be down inside me."

Job 2:3-9 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”  So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"

Mark 12:14 They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.

No one can take your integrity away – you…and you alone give it away!

·      Integrity is a Key to direction

Proverbs 10:9 The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.

Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

Proverbs 13:6 Righteousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.

So many believers are seeking direction from God, but do not understand when they have not been honest with God about their entire life, that stops God from leading them to the unknown, because they will not even be honest with the known God has already shown them.

·      Integrity will bring testing and even persecution

Proverbs 29:10 Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright.

Luke 20:20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.

Bob McQuilkin gives this explanation about his decision to resign as president of Columbia Bible College to take care of his wife, Muriel, who has Alzheimer's:

"As she needed more and more of me, I wrestled daily with the question of who gets me full-time Muriel or Columbia Bible College and Seminary? ... When the time came, the decision was firm.  It took no great calculation. It was a matter of integrity.  Had I not promised, 42 years before, `in sickness and in health...till death do us part'?

This was no grim duty to which I stoically resigned, however.  It was only fair.  She had, after all, cared for me for almost four decades with marvelous devotion; now it was my turn.  And such a partner she was!  If I took care of her for 40 years, I would be never be out of her debt.

I have been startled by the response to the announcement of my resignation. Husbands and wives renew marriage vows, pastors tell the story to their congregations.  It was a mystery to me, until a distinguished oncologist, who lives constantly with dying people, told me, `Almost all women stand by their men; very few men stand by their women.'"

Just one thought: Jesus did something that should challenge us all. It is one thing to ask your friends what they think of you, but it is another thing to ask your enemies!!! 

John 8:39–46 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do… “Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?

Thought: How would your enemies describe you?