5 Common Lies That Cause Fear (And the Bible Truths to Defeat Them)

hslloween
In the next few days, emotions can be pulled two different directions. Although we all  love Fall because of God’s wonderful displays of nature and beauty. we can often feel a little more fearful that usual because of Halloween. We can be driven to fear from Halloween pranks using “smoke and mirrors.” 
 
In real life, we can often live in fear and anxiety because of the same type of “smoke and mirrors.” Although these tricks really are lies and come from a sinister foe. Jesus said that the devil is a liar—and the father of lies.[1] The devil cannot “make” us do anything, but he is a master deceiver who is very much experienced at making people believe anything that interferes with God’s plan. Jesus Christ, in contrast, is called “the way, the truth, and the life,” and his plan is for each person to experience life “more abundantly.”
 
Here are five lies that cause us to fear and the Biblical truth that sets people free from those fears if they will believe and trust God’s word.  
 
I can’t 

The worst thing about the “I can’t” lie is that it stops us before we start. It fills us with fear as we face our biggest obstacles and challenges.  “I can’t overcome alcohol.” “I shouldn’t expect to have a good marriage.” “Everything I touch turns out wrong.” “I’m a failure.” “I can’t follow God.” “I can’t start that business.”
 
In contrast, God is the creator of potential—and the completer of fulfillment.   “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” [2] Yes, that verse is specifically about Paul’s learning to handle both plenty and poverty without being distracted from his life’s purpose by either. Still, if God is the great creator, if he knows us, if we will one day be rewarded for what we have done, then we may assume he has a plan for us—something we can do. No, we can’t do everything, but we can do anything he wants us to do. That includes overcoming our sins and failures by his grace and with his help and accomplishing his will for our lives.
 
Whether it is something people consider to be great or small, God looks on the heart, and the very act of seeking to serve him is a success. And failure is an essential part of success. “ For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.” [3] The only way to never fail is to never attempt. So don’t be afraid to attempt that which God is leading you to do through prayerful and Biblical wisdom. Don’t fear and believe the lie of “I can’t.”
 
God won’t 
 
“God won’t help me.” “God won’t forgive me again.” “God won’t hear me.” God won’t love me.” These are real cries of the hurting heart. And God is ready for that: “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him. He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” [4] God is not frustrated at our weaknesses and failing. Ask Peter after his denial of Christ. Ask the woman who was so ashamed that she could not even look up, but washed the feet of Christ with her tears. But he is severe to those who stubbornly persist in rejecting his grace. It’s Okay to be weak, but we must guard our hearts against being willfully and stubbornly resistant of God’s grace. The key differences? Sincerity and repentance. “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.” [5]
 
Nobody cares 
 
This is a lie from Satan, “the accuser,” much too close to the first recorded lie. His approach to Eve was that God did not have her best interest at heart. She could have more than God was offering. Although she had known only good, she could know both good and evil. And that experiential knowledge of evil brought pain and misery.
 
God cares. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” [6]
 
And people care. It is natural to retreat from people when we hurt, to hide, to isolate ourselves. It is natural, but it is counterproductive. The healing comes as we choose the supernatural, God’s plan. And God’s plan involves accepting the provisions God has made, including people. That is one function of the church: “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting [encouraging] one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” [7]That may take letting some people inside your life, opening yourself up, sharing your hurts when you just want to hide. But God intends to use his people. Will everyone respond rightly? Maybe not. In fact, probably not. In any group of people, some will let you down, but in a good church, there will be someone with whom you can connect. One function of pastoral leadership is to help people make those connections. If you are in our area, we would like to help. Please feel free to contact us or come for a visit to a service soon. We are here to listen and we care.
 
 I don’t matter 
  
You matter to God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” [8] You are worth God assuming human flesh, dying on a cross to take the punishment for your sins, and rising again.
 
You matter, not because of what you can do, not because of who you are, but because of whose you are, if you are a child of God. A loving parent cares for the child, even in the child’s failures. Your own parents are, or were, fallible. But your heavenly father is not.
 
Yet we know by observation and by scripture that God’s children—and all people—suffer. The “why” behind suffering is a topic of its own, and has been a lifelong passion of Phillip Yancey, who wrote the book Where Is God When It Hurts.”  This is a good source for deeper consideration of this topic.
 
 
 
It’s too late 
 
This is a powerful lie of the devil. The feeling of urgency which should prompt us to action becomes his tool to intensify despair and fear. The feeling of guilt which should prompt us to repentance, this the devil uses to make us hide from God because of fear instead.
 
But what does God say? The mercy of God is “new every morning.” [9]  I love Psalm 103:8—“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy—because it begins and ends its description of God with his mercy.
 
And lost opportunity? True, yesterday cannot come again. But should we throw away today because of that? You might be surprised at how encouraging it is to do something rather than to stagnate in yesterday’s sorrow.
 
 
This has all been written for the perspective of a person who has a relationship with God. It’s never too late to start. The first step in truly dealing with fear based on the lies of Satan is to begin a relationship with God. For more about knowing for sure of the forgiveness of God, having a real relationship with him that can bring peace and relief from fear,  click here.  
 
[1] John 8:44
[2] Philippians 4:13
[3] Proverbs 24:16
[4] Psalm 103:13-14
[5] Psalm 34:18
[6] Romans 8:32
[7] Hebrews 10:25
[8] John 3:16
[9]
 Lamentations 3:23 


10 Suggestions to Help Stop the Yelling

yellingHave you ever been yelled at as an adult?  Maybe it was in traffic or when you accidentally spilled something on the big mean guy in front of you at a ball game. Whatever the situation, how did it make you feel?  Did you feel your face get red? Were you embarrassed or angry?  After the fact, even hours later, did you feel vengeful or keep thinking of things you could have or should have yelled back at the person? Now, rewind to the last time you yelled at your child.  Do you think they feel much differently? Do you think raising your voice or using harsh words helps or hurts the relationship with young people?

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:29-32, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

 There is powerful truth in this passage regarding communication in general especially at home, but let’s focus for now on the word “clamor” in verse 21.  The word comes from a word that means to croak (as a raven) or scream, that is, shriek, cry (out).  This unfortunately describes most every one of us as parents at one time or another in the way we speak to our kids. We lose control because we had a long day, our kids get under our skin, they disobey or disrespect one too many times and instead of responding firmly in love, we respond firmly in anger, clamor and evil speaking.  Instead of solving the problem, we makes it worse.

Here are 10 suggestions for dealing with yelling and/or its aftermath.

 
1.    If you’re guilty, make it right. If you know you’ve been wrong in this area, let your child know you were wrong, you feel badly about it and you are going to take steps to correct this issue.  This may be difficult, but it will help you and your child.  Make sure you also go to the Lord and ask for forgiveness and help as well. He will not only forgive us but strengthen us to overcome our sin. (I John 1:9)

2. In addition to making it right, communicate with your child about the situation. Tell them in a way that fits their age and understanding that you struggle with anger and yelling at times. Let them know you are praying for victory and ask for their help.  Let them know what actions on their part can cause you to struggle more.  Don’t blame them or make them feel your sin is their fault (it’s not) but communicate that their actions do make a difference.

3.    Give advance warning when possible to avoid the yelling.  Let your child know that their actions are elevating your emotions in a negative way and that you feel like you’re going to explode.  Let them know when possible that you both need to work to defuse the situation immediately. Let them know that you may need to walk away and cool down. Tell them that if you do that, it is your way of preventing a yelling episode. 

4.    Pray. Ask God right there in the heat of the moment to give you strength to control your words and voice.  Step away and cool down if possible.

5.    Envision a stage.  God sees your actions, but imagine that a group of your peers or co-workers are watching you and your child on a stage. Would your yelling embarrass you in front of them?  Perhaps it will help to envision them as being there.

6.    Remember you are the parent. Yelling and sparring with words reduces your level of authority and respectability.  You are the adult.  Remember to act like one.  When you yell, it makes it easier for your child to yell back because you seem more like a sibling or peer.

7.    Memorize a passage of Scripture together with your child.  Agree that it is wrong for both of you to participate in these sins of words and voice. A joint memorizing project will help with accountability and relationship building. Ps. 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. You can simply “Google” “Bible verses on controlling your words” or “Bible verses on controlling the tongue” for some good suggestions.

8.    Have your husband or wife help. Be accountable to someone regarding your words and voice.  A husband or wife is perfect. If that doesn’t fit in your particular situation, ask your pastor, pastor’s wife or a close friend to keep tabs on you and ask how you’re doing weekly. Ask them to pray with you about the struggle.

9.    Thank the Lord your child is safe and healthy. There have been times I felt myself becoming irritated with my child and feeling like exploding.  It helped to envision them sick or hurting and thank the Lord that they were actually ok, safe and well.  This filled me with more compassion and thankfulness which helped defuse the anger and tone down the situation. 

10.  Read a good book on Words.  A new book is currently available by Paul Tripp called “War of Words.”  You can order it here and watch a short helpful video here.

So is there ever a reason to yell?  Sure.  Perhaps to get attention, to create urgency or emphasis, but yelling with sinful anger is never good. Like any sin, it always makes things worse.

We would love to help minister to your family at First Baptist Church. We have a very active children’s and teen program and we have seasoned parents who would be happy to be involved with praying for you and listening. Our pastor preaches messages from God’s word, the Bible, in a practical way that applies biblical principles to your life. It is systematic and right from the text of God’s word.  Join us.

 



Doubts About God. Can They Ever Be Good?

So You Doubt God.Is it Good or Bad Doubt-
 
Some of us or perhaps all of us doubt God, his Bible or even his existence from time to time. There are two kinds of doubt however. One is good and one is bad. Good or Honest doubt prompts us to look for answers and seek truth while flippant or bad doubt tends to be an excuse for living and acting however we want. Which kind do you or those you love struggle with?

It can be expressed with these two phrases one might hear from doubters.

Good doubt may sound like this.  “I need to know more. I want to understand who God is and why he is trustworthy.”

Bad doubt may sound like this. “Hey, who knows right? Live and let live. We’ll find out who is right or wrong eventually anyhow when we all gather at the big party in the sky.”

For a long time, I’ve felt that Thomas has gotten a bad rap. Remember him? Doubting Thomas? He’s the disciple who was out somewhere when the resurrected Christ appeared to the others.
“Hey, Tom! You really missed it. He’s back—Jesus. And He was here just a few hours ago—Where were you?”
“I was out. Just out. Walking. I’ve got a lot of thinking to do.”
His friends were obviously excited about something. Maybe one of them said, “That empty tomb Peter and John saw on Sunday—this is why. Jesus is really alive! We’ve seen Him!”

Thomas wasn’t one to buy into someone else’s excitement. Still hurting over the loss of one he had committed his life to, he said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
That’s pretty strong wording. Thomas said he would have to poke his finger into the holes made by the nails of the crucifixion. Maybe that was hyperbole. But we forget how confused and discouraged all of the disciples were. But Thomas was the realist in the crowd. It was only Thomas who heard what Jesus clearly had told them on their way to the Passover feast, just a week before. Jesus had said to them that he would be betrayed and killed. All the others were expecting Jesus to use this huge gathering to announce his earthly kingdom and to lead a revolt that would push the occupying Roman army out of Israel. Some of them were jockeying for position in this new kingdom. Most of the disciples were not ready for God’s unexpected plan.
But Thomas was. His take on it? He was ready for the worst. Before they came to Jerusalem, he had said, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” You’ve got to give him credit for faithfulness. For him, it wasn’t about a place in the inner circle or getting a high office in the kingdom. For Thomas it was about Jesus.

Do you see the unexpected juxtaposition: the no-nonsense realist, the doubter, was in some sense the most faithful of them. Can faith and doubt coexist? In his book The Case for Faith, Lee Strobel proposes that doubt is necessary for faith. People who have never seriously examined the evidence, pro and con, have a shallow faith. They are easily blown away by the first argument they cannot answer. And they can’t answer, not because there is no answer, but because they have not done the “due diligence” of examination.

The honesty of doubt, good doubt, in contrast to smoke-screen or bad doubt, is what will build a person up. Lee Strobel wrote of that. A Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and an atheist, Strobel started his investigation of Christianity to disprove it. As the evidence for the validity of faith began to mount, he experienced the natural reaction of trying to avoid God’s claims on his life. He clung to arguments that he knew were weak, just to avoid the consequences of admitting that God is real. He knew that his life would have to change. However, the tough-minded pursuit of truth that made him a good journalist compelled him to confront his intellectual dishonesty, and he became not only a Christian, but also one of the major defenders of Christian belief in our time.

Thomas struggled with that too. Do you see the profound insight of his wording: “I will not believe.” He did not say, “can’t believe”; he said, “won’t believe.” There is an act of the will involved. Honest good doubt seeks truth, not convenience or a way to continue in a given lifestyle. Some people are more interested in saving face than honestly considering faith.

 Good or Honest doubt matters. So does the point-of-decision principle. An old story has a college freshman challenging the professor, “How do you know that I exist?” Perhaps the student expected a discussion of a universal life force and the illusory nature of our perception of individual existence and human will. Instead, the prof answered, “Who, may I ask, is speaking?” The evidence of the student’s existence was overwhelming. Yes, you can always come up with some argument, but sooner or later, you must choose. To continue putting off choice is itself a powerful choice, perhaps a deadly choice. For the enquiring mind, there never will be a point when all questions have been answered as simply and clearly as a high school math problem. Faith must take priority. 

Some years ago, when I was struggling with a career change, a friend introduced a new phrase to me: “Eventually, you just have to pull the trigger.” Quite a picture: a small action performed with full knowledge that something big and consequential will follow. There comes a time when the weight of evidence demands a verdict. So it is with Christ. Healthy good doubt moves toward a goal; it doesn’t drift. It seeks truth, not excuses.

It is God who says “Come now, let us reason together.” (Isaiah 1:18). God also says, “You will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). I would encourage you to seek where answers are likely to be found: at a Bible-teaching church. For a safe, friendly place to investigate the claims of God’s word, visit us at First Baptist Church. 

For more information, we suggest the book mentioned above.  You can purchase it here on Amazon or listen to the audio book here on YouTube. 

 


How to Help Your Kids Defeat Summer Boredom

Help Your Kids Beat Summer Boredom5 Bible Based Ideas (2)
 
Every parent knows that with the much anticipated breaks from school also come the much dreaded words we all hear from the kids. 
“I’m bored. There is nothing to do around here.” 
As most parents have experienced, if boredom is not dealt with strategically and successfully, it can quickly turn into a problem. Sibling arguments, laziness, watching TV for hours and hours and so on are issues that arrive and that are issues no parent enjoys facing.
Here are Five suggestions to consider as you navigate the break this year.
 
  1. Implement a strategy where your child can earn points. Points turn into cash, material items, trips and other things that individually motivate your child. It works for children and I’ve even seen teens up to 18 get excited about it if the incentives are right. It works something like this. There are two lists of jobs. One list is a daily/weekly list of regular routine chores that need to be done around the house.  Each week chores are successfully completed earns them 300 points. You can give partial points for less than 100% completion. A second list has items that can be done for extra points. This list is one that you build off your own “to-do” list from around the house, around the widow’s house next door, grandma’s house etc. It can include all kinds of items from cleaning out the junk drawer to trimming the hedges to weeding the garden. You decide a fair number of points for each job. Your child can choose which he’d like to do and when he’d like to do them. If you have jobs that arise or that need to be done at a certain time, negotiate points for the job with him like you would a contractor. In all cases, make the points worth it for him. As the weekly and extra points add up, he can trade them in at various levels for smaller rewards or save them for something bigger. Give some extra incentive for when he reaches certain levels. At 2500, he gets to have a friend over. At 4000, bowling with some buddies. These extra incentives don’t have to subtract from the totals. It is a great way to keep him busy and also reward his hard work. (Hint- Points can also be taken away for negative behavior, but use this option sparingly.) 
  2. Consider vacation Bible school at local churches.At our Bible school (see below) there are outdoor activities, crafts, fun with friends and the blessing of learning about the Bible.  Your kids and teens will have a blast at First Baptist this summer. You can check with other local churches to learn about other Bible school opportunities during the summer. Make sure though that what is being taught is truly from the Bible. Check websites for the doctrinal statements of the church and what they will be learning that week during the Bible school time. You can read our doctrine statement here and more about our summer youth programs here. 
  3. Communicate. Make sure you are taking advantage of the extra time with your child. Take them to lunch, take a weekend trip together or binge watch some wholesome Netflix shows from your childhood era. Conversation Starters for Good Communication with Your Teens and Children
  4. Stay involved in a church. Most churches provide some great family activities in the summer. We do here at First Baptist. Check it out here.  Get involved with a good Bible-believing church that will not only provide great worship opportunities for your family, but a great teen program for your teens. Talk to the youth pastor or children’s ministry director if you’re concerned about your child.
  5. Give them time to relax and refresh. School can be hard and students need some time off. Don’t be overly concerned with some sleeping in, video gaming and tv watching. Kids are only young once and most will work the rest of their lives. While a good work ethic is needed, don’t forget to let them be a kid while they can.

 

Breaks from school don’t have to be as stressful as it may seem. Plan ahead, talk it over with your child and create breaks from school that end up as pleasant memories for everyone involved.
 
 
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Wrapping the Awkward Gift of Advice

awkward gift of adviceConfrontation and giving advice. When we know our friends may be struggling with a problem, sin, or even an addiction, it’s never easy to offer helpful correction or give input.  In fact, it is like trying to gift wrap a huge, awkwardly-shaped gift that our friend may not even appreciate at the time. You know they will benefit from it, but how do you make it presentable so they will gladly accept it? Even with examples laid out before us in Scripture, it is still difficult at times to know exactly what to do and say to get our friends or family to listen and really hear truth.

In the end, we know we can’t force a gift on anyone. No matter how valuable the gift of advice or confrontation, no matter how perfectly wrapped or perfectly timed, it still has to be received. We know that, according to Scripture, wise people accept this gift of advice and confrontation. We can see that even some marginally wise folks will accept it, although more care must be taken in the giving of it. We also know that the Bible says that a mark of a foolish person is that he will not accept advice (Proverbs 23:9).

A few preliminary thoughts first.

Silence means approval (Proverbs 17:15-17).  Remember that you, as a friend or family member, must attempt to give this gift.  You can’t stay silent and just hope things get better. You can’t be the buddy or friend and not be a godly friend. 

Remember that advice and confrontation bring results (Proverbs 28:23).  It may not be the immediate results you want; but if they accept, you have “gained a brother” (Matthew 18:15) and strengthened the relationship.  If the result is rejection, you can begin to follow the advice God gives on dealing with those who are foolish.     

So how do we wrap this gift of advice, wisdom, and / or confrontation?

There are some great “wrapping” instructions in the story of the prophet Nathan confronting David after his sin with Bathsheba.  This story can be found in 1 Samuel 12:1-15.

1. Wrap your advice in a friendship of encouragement. If you are not careful about picking the battle you choose with your friends who are struggling, you’ll find yourself nagging instead of advising. What’s the difference? Nagging occurs when you find yourself constantly irritated with your friend and badgering them almost every time you’re with them. Advising happens when you pick your battles, letting some (maybe many) issues go while focusing on the biggest issues or the ones the Holy Spirit prompts you about first. Spend your time and energy trying to find the things you can praise in your friend’s life on a regular basis. He’ll be more open to the purposeful, planned confrontation if it is wrapped in a day-to-day flow of encouragement. 

2. Wrap your advice in brotherly love and not harsh judgment. In other words, wrap it in humility, mercy, and grace, remembering your own journey, struggles, and failures along the way. Remember God’s mercy to you. Soft words turn away anger. Meditate on Proverbs 15:1. Learn to ask questions and not make accusations. Study 1 Corinthians 13 before confronting. Love hopes, love endures, is patient, kind, thinks the best whenever possible, and so on. If you are looking forward to pointing the finger and confronting, or if you are angry and frustrated, then wait. 

3. Wrap your advice in facts. Nathan knew the facts when he confronted David. Don’t rely on hearsay,  possibly false assumptions, or speculations. Trust your friend enough to believe the best and think no evil until the facts are evident. This doesn’t mean that you believe lies and don’t investigate, but make sure he knows you’ve given him the benefit of the doubt. Again, ask questions of your friend first before you simply make accusations. Even if you know the facts, give him the option to share them with you first. Remember, Proverbs says that there are often two sides to a story, and a wise person gets all the facts. 

4. Give your gift with a wise sense of timing. The occasion must be God’s prompting, not your own angry outburst. Wait and pray for the right time. Here are a few thoughts: Talk privately; this type of gift is not best received in front of other family or friends. Honor his agenda if possible; if you are interrupting a ball game on TV or planned time with other friends, your gift of advice or confrontation takes a hit. Consider scheduling a time with them: “Hey, I have some things to talk with you about. When is a good time for you later today?” Along with this goes bathing the whole situation in prayer. Part of timing is giving the Holy Spirit time to work in your friend’s heart ahead of time, as well as yours (Proverbs18:13).

5. Wrap your gift with a healthy dose of Biblical Truth and Love. 

I encourage you to use Scripture itself in your advising and confronting. Stay away from your opinions and feelings, and take them back to Bible principles that they have violated. Prepare ahead of time to do this well. As an example, if a friend has been publicly rude to his wife, don’t say: 

 

“I’m tired of the way you’ve been treating your wife! I just about popped you the other day when you yelled at her at the restaurant. That better never happen again when I’m around. God will deal with people like you. I promise you!”

Instead, try something like:

“I’m concerned for you because the Bible says you should honor your wife; it gives promises for God’s grace in doing so. The Bible says in Ephesians that guys should love their wives like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.  How do you think you’ve been doing in that area lately? I know it is an area that I’ve had to be careful in myself.”

Biblically, the key to solving strife (relational conflict) is humility and truth. This is well stated in Ephesians 4:15 as truth wrapped in love. Wrapping truth in love provokes thoughts of our heart motivations, because when we act in humility and love, we take attacking and offending out of the picture. We can then join with them in the discussion of truth. Biblical truth becomes the light in the situation and does the work of revealing the heart. With this approach, as a friend, you let the power of God’s Word, “sharper than any two edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12) do its work. You are then more freed up to love and help them as they learn how to implement truth in their actions.

6. Wrap advice and confrontation with the wide red ribbon of forgiveness. Be ready to forgive before you confront if the offense was against you. After the confrontation and advising, forgive. Don’t keep bringing up the problem. Move on. If the offense was against someone else or against God alone, assure a repentant friend of God’s love and forgiveness as well. Make sure that during the confrontation, you don’t bring up past forgiven sins unless they are very pertinent to the current situation. If the advice is rejected, you as a friend can still keep a spirit of sweetness and readiness to forgive when your friend is brought to a place of repentance by God’s work in his life. This helps guard your own heart from getting vengeful and bitter and your conversations from being harsh and sarcastic. 

7. Wrap the gift of confrontation or advice as well as the presentation of the gift in lots of love. Samuel affirmed love (II Samuel 12:25). Remember we referred to 1 Corinthians 13 earlier? Study this passage over and over when dealing with struggling friends or family. Love goes deeper than feelings and beyond feelings. You may not feel like loving him in any sort of way right now, but you can still act in love towards him according to the principles in 1 Corinthians 13. Assure your friend that you love him no matter what he does. You may not approve, you may have to even separate from him for a while, but let him never doubt your or God’s love for him. 

We hope that these helpful truths will benefit you. If we can be of help to you now or in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 
 
Click below to read other articles and information about our church.
 
 
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5 Power Phrases to Boost Your Relationships

5 Simple Short Phrases to Boost the Love in Any Relationship (1)Need a boost to your relationships today?  Here are 5 phrases that are sure to make a difference in any relationship you have even if it has been struggling lately. Simple yet amazingly effective.  Try one out today!

1. “I love you.”  If you love someone, let them know it.  Tell them and show them often.  You may think they know it, and they might, but it is always nice to say it.  I Corinthians 13 reminds us that we can be smart, sacrificial and sound wonderful in our speech, but if we don’t have love, we are nothing. Tell your wife, your son or daughter, call your mom and dad.  Even in the struggles, an “I love you” sure can’t hurt. 

2. “I was wrong, forgive me.” One of my professors in college encouraged us to substitute this phrase for “I’m sorry.”  In saying, “I was wrong” there is no doubt in the offended and hurt person’s mind that you know you hurt them and desire their forgiveness and restoration of the relationship. We cannot be rightly related to God if we have broken and torn relationships with others. Perhaps you need to use this phrase with someone today. Don’t wait for them even if they were wrong too. 

3. “Thank you.”  In Luke 17 we read about those with leprosy who Jesus healed.  He literally changed the rest of their lives. Things were different because of His intervention.  Only one returned to say thank you.  There certainly have been people who have made a difference in your life.  People whose intervention changed things for the better. Do they know you are thankful?  What about old friends, parents, your children, their teachers, a coach or former pastor.  Make sure they know you are thankful.  “Thank you” is never said too late or too much.  

4. “I will .”  We must say “I will” to God as he speaks to us about things he wants us to do or change, but we also need to say it to others.  Jesus showed us in John 13 his willingness to wash his disciple’s feet. He then commanded us to do the same.  Look for needs you can meet, and then when you see it, say, “I will.” Try it with your husband or wife, your neighbor, your pastor, your children or your mom and dad.  You’ll be amazed at how serving others builds the relationship and encourages your own heart at the same time.

5. “I can

.” Have you hit some brick wall in your Christian life?  Do you feel defeated because of a sinful habit, or lack of prayer. Perhaps there is some difficult trial you and your teen or you and a spouse or friend are going through.  In any instance, it is easy to say, “I can’t make it.”  Paul reminds us that we CAN do all things THROUGH CHRIST who will strengthen us. A great lesson we must learn is that in myself I can’t, but in Him, I can.  Try saying “I can” to yourself. Say it to others who you may be struggling with.  Acknowledging that you can build your relationship by saying something like this can make a huge difference.  “I can make this work with God’s help.”  “I can react in forgiveness with God’s help.” “I can be patient and work through this by God’s grace.”

 

If we can be of help or encouragement to you in building your relationship with God, biblically repairing your relationship with others or  just listening to your heartache, please get in touch.
 
 

 

 

 



3 Reasons Christ’s Resurrection is so Important.

What is Easter Really is MoreAbout Jelly Beans and RabbitsThan Jesus and the Resurrection- (1)

Easter egg hunts, the Easter Bunny, jelly beans, candy eggs, Easter baskets, and Peeps! All of these are fun and enjoyable parts of Easter, but what if that is all? What if the Easter dinner and the fun were the only things to celebrate? What if Jesus Christ didn’t rise from the dead? What if there were no resurrection from the grave?

 

In 1 Corinthians 15:12-13, the Bible actually proposes this question. Paul writes, 

“…how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen.” Paul then goes on to describe the negative consequences of an Easter that is only about eggs, bunnies, and candy. He describes what life would be like without the truth and reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

Let’s remember the following 3 realities of a universe and life without the resurrection of Jesus Christ. These can be found in 1 Corinthians 15.

 

  1. Without the resurrection of Jesus, there is no forgiveness of sin.The purpose of Jesus’ sacrificial death was to provide a completely holy substitute for our sinful failures. God requires the punishment of death for the forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9). No mere human can provide a sufficient sacrifice before God for the sins of others, because each person must die for his or her own sin. However, Jesus, as God and man miraculously combined, could live a completely holy life and thus provide a perfect sacrifice for the sin of mankind through the shedding of His blood and His death on the cross.  Romans 1:4 says that Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” If Jesus didn’t rise, He was not the Son of God, and thus His death was simply the death of another good man. If He is still dead, then He died for only His own sin but not ours.  If this is the case and there is no resurrection of Christ, then we are left surrounded by, captive to, and dominated by our sinful desires and deeds. We are left in our struggle to live with our own guilt and to die condemned by our sin. 

 

  1. Without the resurrection of Jesus, our faith is worthless. Our belief in hope, a brighter tomorrow, that God is somehow working all things for good, that death is not the end, and that all wrongs will be made right would all be in vain without the resurrection of Jesus. There would be no reason to hope. We might die in the next moments, and then what? There would be no belief in eternal life, including eternal reward or eternal punishment.  If our faith is worthless, there is no hope, no joy, no peace. If our faith is worthless, we should, “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”  (That advice may initially sound good to some until you combine it, for all humanity, with the next point that there is no real right and wrong without the resurrection.) If our faith is worthless and there are no moral absolutes, and if others’ merriment includes your detriment, then the world becomes a horrible place. If our faith is worthless, we are, as Paul describes, a most miserable humanity.

 

 

  1. Without the resurrection of Jesus, the Bible is a lie and there is no ultimate truth for life, living, and death.Paul says that if the resurrection didn’t happen, then truths about God, the Bible, and good versus evil all fall apart. If the resurrection didn’t happen, those who believe the Bible and teach it to others are liars. God, if he exists at all, would be a liar. There would be no bedrock truth for humanity.  If there is no bedrock truth, then there is no right and wrong and no true justice for the hurts done to us or those we love. Every person could do that which is right in his own mind.  If there is no resurrection, we cannot provide answers for why bad things happen to good people. We cannot teach our children not to kill, steal, lie, etc., nor expect that others should not sin in those ways toward us. ISIS isn’t wrong in their efforts, serial killers aren’t really wrong, corporate greed is fine, and the list could go on to include every horrific crime or sin we could imagine. Without the resurrection, man is left alone in his quest to determine his own way, and there is no direction.

 

Certainly there will always be those who deny and mock the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We do not have to look far or type too many letters into Google to find them and their arguments. However, we must consider the far-reaching implications of their beliefs and decide for ourselves.

 

If you are a believer, as you consider Easter this year, don’t underestimate the power of the resurrection or fail to celebrate it. Share the good news of the Gospel confidently, because Jesus did rise and conquer death! Our sins can be forgiven. We can have a relationship with God. We can believe that the Bible is true and an unfailing guide for life and the future.

 

If you are not a believer, please consider the far-reaching implications of your denial and consider once again the story of the Bible. Please consider the following resources that will at least give you some more information and help you to not make a careless decision.
 
 
More Resources on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
 
Answers in Genesis – Did the Resurrection Really Happen?  

https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/resurrection/did-the-resurrection-really-happen/

 

The Case for the Resurrection – Lee Strobel. An investigative reporter studies the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Case-Easter-Journalist-Investigates-Resurrection/dp/0310339502/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458392635&sr=1-3&keywords=The+Case+for+the+Resurrection

 



If You’ve Been Considering Coming Back to Church, Here’s a Short Note…

An Open Letter to Those Who Feel They Need (1)Hi,

I wanted to let you know that people miss seeing you at church. I know life has been hectic lately and you can’t make it as often as you think about coming. I know you are thankful, like I am, that our eternal salvation and relationship with God doesn’t rest on how often we are in church.  Truly, we are all thankful that Jesus’ sacrifice took care of all of that for us, and we don’t have to work our way into Heaven! Being in church definitely doesn’t get us to Heaven, but it sure can be a little taste of Heaven on Earth. 

With that being said, we all really wish you’d consider coming back to church. Here are a few reasons why we think you’d enjoy getting back into the routine.

1.      God’s Word. Pastor is still preaching and teaching from the Bible, and his messages are practical “where we live” kind of messages.  He’s been teaching on some really helpful topics recently, like a healthy relationship with God, the importance of the Bible in our lives, how to have hope, and more.  All of these have been straight from the Bible.

2.      Praying with others. I know you enjoy prayer just between you and the Lord like I do. However, there is something special and uplifting about praying with other believers. I seem to understand more about prayer and how to pray when I hear others pray around me. It is also a blessing to hear them praising the Lord in prayer. It makes me praise Him more myself and takes my mind off of my problems. Hearing others pray is helping me realize that life is bigger than just me. Come join us in prayer. Of course, you remember that you don’t have to pray aloud. Just listen to others lead in prayer as you pray with them silently. It is so refreshing.

3.      Friendship with other believers.  I know there are people you don’t know at church, but I’m sure that the more you come, the more you’ll develop friendships. These friends will share your joys and cares. They will pray for you and even with you. There will be plenty of smiles and laughs, too. Christian friends are more than just friends, they are family – for eternity.

4.      A place to get involved.  I know you are not a selfish person and like to be involved in helping others. You are probably already busy enough doing things for others, but there is always room to serve others at church if you want to get more involved.  Just come on back and ask. We will help you get connected in an area that is right for you.

Well, I could go on, but the point is that I know people would be glad to see you in church again. I know for certain that the Lord would be happy to see you in church again.  Would you please rearrange your schedule and come see us this Sunday? I really feel like you’ll be glad you did.

The Sunday morning service starts at 11 AM and we still have Sunday School and Connection Groups at 10 AM.

Kindest Regards,
The First Baptist Church Family


4 Reasons Biblical Love Can be Extremely Romantic ♥

4 Reasons Married Biblical Love  is
Do you think of love in the Bible as being only stoic or unromantic? You’ll be encouraged by this article if you enjoy a romantic and growing love built on a unshakable foundation. 
 
Biblical love is often thought of in
isolation from romantic love. Biblical love may seem stoic or shallow compared to the romantic love of husband and wife. Is this an accurate picture of the Biblical love God intends for husband and wife? Dictonary.com defines romantic as passionate, fervent and ardent – fierce and vehement.  Does the Bible even address romantic love, the kind we think of on Valentine’s Day? You bet it does!
Certainly there are various types of love described in the Bible. Love for friends, love for brothers and sisters, even love for your enemy. However, Biblical love always goes further than what most in the world think of as love. This is true especially when the Bible is describing the type of love husbands and wives should have for one another. In fact God says this love is so deep, abiding and powerful that it can only be fueled by the grace and power of God himself through his Holy Spirit. Wow, pretty cool stuff.

 

Here are four reasons biblical love is truly romantic love.

 

1. Biblical love between husband and wife is romantic because it unmasks and exposes common cultural substitutes for what may seem romantic and exciting as actually selfish and sinful. The Bible clearly defines the difference between true romantic love which does whatever is best for the cherished object and its sinful impostor, lust. So many of today’s popular music hits, movies and media portray romance as what the Bible actually describes as lust.  The Bible warns of the long term devastation of lust thus spotlighting true love and guiding people to that instead. The Bible goes on to promise God’s blessing on love that flows from His Spirit. Don’t confuse sinful lust, secret forbidden romantic feelings and illegitimate attractions for exciting romance. All of those are recipes for heartache and disaster.

2. Biblical love between husband and wife is romantic because there are pages of sacred Scripture dedicated to its example. Read the PG rated book of Song of Solomon or the story of Ruth and Boaz. (Both by the way are also pictures of Christ’s intense and sacrificial love for his church.)

3. Biblical love between husband and wife is romantic because the greatest love story of all time is that of Jesus, God’s son, sacrificing all for the love of his people. 

In a captivating way the Bible presents Christ’s love for his people as the love of a bridegroom for his bride. The Bible presents true love by showing Jesus Christ’s willingness to leave his throne, come to Earth, live without shelter and then be beaten and murdered to forgive and save his bride, the church. Isn’t this the stuff all epic love stories of all time are patterned from? Talk about a romantic type as a pattern.  The book of Ephesians tells men that they should love their wives like Christ loved the church by giving himself for it. (Ephesians 5:25)

 

4. Biblical love between husband and wife is romantic because it encompasses all three words the ancient Greeks commonly used for our one word love. In addition, the Bible then adds a fourth not so common word to describe the ultimate love of God.  The New Testament was originally written in Greek.  The Geeks commonly used three words to depict several elements of what we include in our one word love. The Bible mentions or alludes to all three of those elements in talking about true Biblical love between husband and wife, then adds the foundation of Biblical love  which is encompassed in the Greek word “agape.” The Greek word  is the most powerful of the four words for love and describes God’s own love for us. 

The Greeks used three words to describe various aspects of love.  From “phileo” to “eros” to “storge” these words depict a love that includes friendship and the mutual enjoyment of sharing life together then add a physical intimate sexual component along with an intense family bond.  Far from demeaning women to simply an object of physical desire or leaving love as a one dimensional friendship in the marriage bond, Biblical love depicted in the added word, Agape, crowns the love relationship between husband and wife with high respect and regard as well as deep sacrificial ramifications on many levels. Adding the fourth word for Biblical love, “agape,” elevates love to more than feelings, physical elements and family relationships to a decisive bond empowered by God’s Spirit that is as strong as death. It incorporates traits such as unending patience, unbelievable forgiveness, long suffering and even eternity itself.  (See 1 Corinthians 13) 

Note: The  Greek word “eros” is not actually used in Scripture to describe love probably because it was derived from the name of a Greek god.  However intimate physical love is referred to many times in the Bible between husband and wife. (Song 1:13, 4:5-6, 7:7-9, 8:10; 1Co 7:25; Eph 5:31; and Heb 13:4).

More could be said about fervent fierce romantic Biblical love that includes forgiveness, mercy, and sacrifice. More could be written on how the Bible depicts God singing and rejoicing over his bride, the church, but for now during this season of Valentine’s, understand that the Bible is applicable to today’s culture.  Romantic love is not the invention of man, but the gift and example of a loving gracious God. Look to the Bible for your examples of what true romantic love between husband and wife is really all about. 
 
We hope you’ll plan to visit our church soon if you don’t have a church home.  Church is a wonderful place to strengthen your marriage and family.  
 
Click around on our site and learn more about our ministry and how we might be a blessing to you.
 
 


Change that Emoticon – 9 Bible Answers for Dealing with Discouragement and Depression

Change the EmoticonThe third Monday each January has been called “Blue Monday.” According to marketing research, this particular Monday of January each year is the most depressing day of the year for a majority of people.  We aren’t sure if this is true or not (

you can read about it here) but we do know that discouragement and depression are real problems not only after holidays or during winter, but all year long. 

Here are 9 Biblical ways to help defeat it. We hope you’ll read them all, but at least scroll through the list below and allow God to use some of them to help you. You are not alone in your struggle. We realize this article is a bit longer than most that we post, but this is a difficult problem and we want to try to give you some good helpful information and not take it lightly.

“The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy.”  Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

You are not alone in the struggle of life as it relates to discouragement and/or depression.  You might be interested to know that numerous heroes of our faith struggled with these difficult types of situations.

Discouragement, where does it come from?  Sometimes it feels like a dry, barren wind off a lonely desert. Something inside us begins to wilt.  At other times, it feels like a chilling mist seeping through our powers, it numbs the spirit and fogs the path before us…it strips our lives of joy and leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed.

In the Bible, we see David struggled with these feelings. In Psalm 61:1–2  He writes, “Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer.  From the end of the earth I will cry to thee, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” We find it alluded to often in other Psalms as well:

Psalm 42:5-7, 9,11 – Listen to the Psalmist in these verses. Have you ever felt like this? Most of us have at one time or another.

 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted (Disquieted=groan loudly; moan) within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. 6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember thee from the land of the Jordan, And from the heights of Hermon, From the Hill Mizar. 7 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterspouts; All thy waves and thy billows have gone over me. 9 I will say to God my Rock, “Why have thou forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”  11 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him who is the health of my countenance and my God. 

Another great Bible character, Paul, wrote of his struggle with difficult emotional, physical and spiritual anguish.   2 Corinthians 7:5–6 — 5

 For when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

Throughout history, we find Christian saints who struggle with discouragement and depression.  We could list the godliest people we know and if the truth were known, we would discover that to a large degree, most if not all have had a struggle in this area.

 Abraham Lincoln thought the pain would lead to death; the body couldn’t tolerate it. He said,  “I am now the most miserable man living.  If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on earth.  Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell; I awfully forbode I shall not.  To remain as I am is impossible.  I must die or be better, it appears to me.”  

Here are others who wrote about the pain we all feel at times:      

·   You seem to imagine I have no ups and downs but just a level and lofty stretch of spiritual attainment with unbroken joy.… By no means! By no means! I am often perfectly wretched and everything appears most murky–John Henry Jowett, pastor of New York’s Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and later Westminster Chapel in London to a friend in 1920

•     Lord Jesus, receive my spirit and put an end to this miserable life.John Knox

•     There are dungeons beneath the castles of despair.Charles Spurgeon, who suffered debilitating bouts of depression all his life

•     I had my temptations attending me.… Sometimes I should be assaulted with great discouragement therein, fearing that I should not be able to speak the Word at all …at which times I should have such a strange faintness and strengthlessness seize upon my body that my legs have scarce been able to carry me–John Bunyan

 
Perhaps today you are a  “weary pilgrim.”  You have known the dark nights and the days that seem like nights as you struggle through discouragement.  You can take heart – as you can see, you are in good company.

We will only begin to scratch the surface of the topic of discouragement/depression/and burnout.  Though they are not equal, they usually go hand in hand, so I have lumped them together. 

Before we begin, here are a few myths about the causes of discouragement and/or depression:

1.      Depression is always the result of lack of faith in God.
2.      Depression is always caused by self-pity.
3.      Depression can always be removed by spiritual exercises such as prayer and fasting.
4.      Depression can be removed by making a choice to be happy.
5.      The term “Depressed Christian” is a contradiction.
6.      All depression comes from Satan.
7.      Depression is God’s punishment.
8.      Depression is never the will of God.

 
To overcome depression, there are some necessary and needed adjustments we must make.  

Here are 9 places to look to help you overcome discouragement and depression.  

Looking to these places of help will aid in the correction  our distorted vision and help bring us out of the swamp or “slough of despond” as John Bunyan described it.

 
1.  Look to others who have suffered and succeeded. (Heb. 11)

Depression makes us feel alone.  Even in a crowd of people, we can feel as if we are somehow separate from everyone else.  This makes the misery only deeper.

We need to remember that there have been others who have been through deep waters in life yet they succeeded.  I have mentioned several in Scripture and in church history.  One of the greatest lists of those who struggle and faced incredible odds is found in Hebrews 11.  We read of the real men and women of the Bible who learned through hardship, pain and suffering to live by faith.

v.13 – they never saw the complete fulfillment of God’s promises – a land, a race, a city, but they had faith.  Our faith too must extend beyond this life to heaven.  That gives true meaning to what we experience in this life.

v. 36 – so we realize that everyone faces different and difficult circumstances, these had faith in God when life was at its worse.  When the greatest potential for discouragement and depression came their way, they had faith in God!

When you get depressed, it is good to remember that others have been through every imaginable pain and hardship (physically, mentally, and emotionally) and they testify that by faith, we can make it as well. Their lives remind me that everything in this life is not “pie in the sky”, ease and luxury.  Read their stories and you will not only discover their pain and suffering, you will see that they had the same questions you ask, 

“Does God hear me?”

“Does God love me?”

“Has God forsaken me?”

They made it and so can we.

 
 2.   Look to God.   

Revelation 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

You might think that “the beloved disciple” of Jesus, the one who wrote five books of the NT would have a life of ease and luxury for his service to Christ.  John was the last apostle to die.  He suffered in exile on the Isle of Patmos – a Roman Penal Colony – because he would not say that the emperor was “Lord and God.”

At potentially the most discouraging moments of his life, John saw God.  This is our greatest need when we are depressed.  God seems to be off the radar, so distanced form us that we have no connection with Him.

Remember the following realities about God:

God is good

God is all-powerful

God cares

God understands

God loves me

God is God

Write these statements in bold print in your Bible.  When we are depressed, we need a proper look at god.  Satan brings distortions and lies about God.  John saw God for who He is – “The Lord God omnipotent reigns.”

3.   Look to Jesus. 

Hebrews 12:2–3 — Looking 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. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

      When we go through pain and suffering we are also looking for meaning.  Many people comment that if they could understand the purpose of their pain, then they could more easily handle the pain.

      But that revelation of purpose rarely comes when we think we need it.  Job had no idea of the Heavenly aspect to his earthly dilemma.  Joseph went through decades without answers.  Jesus cried from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

      When we experience depression we must look to Jesus!  V. 3 tells us why “lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”  It literally means “to give out.”  During times of discouragement, we want to give up.

 

4.   Look to the truth. 

John 17:17–18  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  

As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

      It has been said that if you tell a lie long enough, it will be believed as the truth.  I think we can argue from history that this happens regularly.  We are very susceptible to lies.  Sometimes because we can’t verify them one way or another.  Sometimes because we are gullible and sometimes because we want to believe them.

      We need to be careful about what we listen to especially when we are discouraged.  It is easy to listen to lies:

      “God doesn’t care”

      “God is not with me”

      “No one has ever faced this before”

      “God is gone”

      These lies and hundreds of others feed discouragement and depression.  It is easier to believe lies because we have to take no steps of action.  All we have to do is live by our feelings.  Feelings change constantly.  Truth never changes.

      When you go through the valley of depression you must “remember in the dark the truth you learned in the light.”  Depression often happens as a result of replacing the Word of God as the driving force for our actions.  Even the physical causes of depression require a Biblical response.

      If we don’t replace the lies with truth we will have a “…faulty interpretation of the available information.”

      I want you to mark several key references that are the truths you need to remember to combat the lies when you are discouraged.

      1.   God never fails – Heb. 13:5b

      2.   Pain has a purpose (it purifies) – I Peter 4:1

      3.   God answers prayer – John 14:13-14

      4.   God is with me in my struggles – Ps. 46:1

      5.   Good will be the result – Rom 8:28

      6.   This will make me like Jesus – Rom. 8:29 

      7.   This is temporary – II Cor. 4:17

      8.   God is in control – Deut. 33:26-27

      9.   God gives me strength – Is. 40:31

      There are times when we can only cling to God and His promises.  That is a choice to live by faith and not to give in to our feelings.  Remember, “People who give up are people who have first given in (to their feelings).”

      Mark, memorize and study these truths from Scripture.  They are the truths that will set you free.

5. Look at the past.

Many people are depressed because of their past.  As they think back, there may be many, if not hundreds, of failures.  Failed projects, rejection, abuse, misrepresentations, sin, failure as a parent, spouse or friend, school failures, failures in relationships.  The list could be endless.  Why would anyone want to think about the past to overcome discouragement and depression?

Though this is not my main point, I should point out to you that caution should always be exercised when we think about the past.  Our mind may distort the facts.  Since we can rarely remember events exactly as they were, we may exaggerate the severity of an incident or we may minimize the good that has happened.  It’s easy to be the victim when we are discouraged.  Be careful how you remember the past!  The apostle Paul taught us that he forgot the things that were behind because his remembrance of those things would be a hindrance.

That does not mean that we never remember the past.  We don’t live in the past.  And we don’t have to allow the past to control us.  

What should we remember about the past?

Lamentations 3:1-9, 15-20, 21-25 

We need to remember that the God of the past is with us today.  There may be necessary, even unexplained, pain and difficulty.  But, as Jeremiah remembered, so must we.  In order to “crowd out the hopelessness” that can evade our lives we must have three memories from the past:

o   God’s inexhaustible supply of loyal love (“mercies”)

o   God’s warm compassion (Hebrew word that basically means “the womb”)

o   God’s forever faithfulness (His dependable support that will not let me down)
 

When we are discouraged, “It is though what we know by faith is struggling with what we are experiencing.”  One of the ways that the Israelites learned to not forget God was to build/have memorials. The rainbow, is a great example of God giving a reminder. Gen. 9:13-16

We too need memorials of God’s faithfulness.

o   Keep a journal – answers to prayer, favorite verses, times of God’s special favor

o   Write in your Bible 

o   Sing hymns

o   Review with a friend

o   Specific provision by God

We need to be careful that we don’t forget God’s faithfulness and promises!

 
6. Look to the future.

 
The grim shadow of depression creates false images and impressions.  Like a restless night, we think it will never end. We admit that there are many difficulties, heartaches, pain and struggles in our lifetime.  Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.”  For some it seems worse than for others.  It is easy to lose perspective when we are the ones facing difficulty. When discouraged we should look at the future:

 
Job did – Job 19:25-27   For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Jesus did – Heb. 12:2  Looking 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.

Paul did – II Tim. 4:7-8  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

As a Christian, we can honestly say that the future is brighter than today.  We have to be careful that we don’t look only at our present distress.

“When will it ever end?”  may be the cry from our hearts.  I certainly cannot answer that question.  We may go through depressing times that last days, months, or years.  You might have chronic pain or an extended illness.  But “if in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable” (I Cor. 15:19)

To overcome discouragement, we must realize that there is an eternity with God.  There will be no more pain, suffering, disappointment, heartache, injustice, or tears.  We will worship and enjoy God forever . . . that is our future.  

 
7.  Look at the benefits.

At first glance, it would seem that there are no benefits from struggling through the realities of life that cause us discouragement and depression. Yet we find benefits listed in Scripture. Here are a few to consider:

            a.   Job 23:10 – you will have greater value

            b.   Psalm 119:67,71 – keeps you from going deeper into sin

            c.   Romans 5:3-5 – you develop patience, experience, and hope

            d.   II Corinthians 1:4 – you will have a ministry to others

            e.   II Corinthians 12:9 – you will experience God’s strength

            f.    Hebrews 5:8 – you will learn obedience

 

Our difficulties in life can either bind us to the point of discouragement, depression and despair or we can see how everything that touches our lives has a divine purpose.  It is literally true, “No pain:  no gain.”

I am not suggesting that you go out and look for circumstances so that you can experience difficulty and discouragement.  They will automatically come to you!  However, since we know they will come, we should look at what God can and will do in our lives when we face the inevitable hard times.

 
8.  Look at praise.

 
 Psalm 69:29–31   But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.  I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.  This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.

The Bible is full of praise to God . . . in all circumstances and situations.  When we are discouraged, it is difficult to praise God.  That is probably what we most need to do.  Praise gets our focus off of our surroundings and on to God.  When we truly praise God, we are not thinking of ourselves.  A lot of what is termed praise today is not really praise of God.  Too often, there is still a focus on what I might get out of it:  a feeling, relief, or some emotional high. The Scripture calls it a “sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15). The time of sacrifice is when it cost me something.  The greatest cost is o truly praise God when there is nothing, humanly speaking, that would hint of praising God. But the remarkable truth is that praise of God needs to be a priority when we are discouraged.  Praise precedes deliverance. Go back to “Look to God” as the beginning of a long list of what to praise God for.  Praise means we truly rejoice in God.  We bless God; we take pleasure in God.

 
9.  Look to a friend.

 
1 Thessalonians 3:2  And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
 
When we are discouraged we need a friend, a true friend.  A true friend will listen to you.  They will help adjust your perspective:

 
·         They will listen to you, help discern truth from error and reinforce the truth of God’s Word to you.

·         They will pray with and for you.

·         They will help redirect your thoughts to the big picture and the joys of life.

·         They will “lend you their faith”.

When we face discouragement and depression, we should find a friend and pour out our heart to them.  Our friends become our supporting allies and will be there even though we feel as if we cannot make it.  And in a worst-case scenario, where we are friendless, as believers we have a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

 
Final Necessary Reminders:

 

•  Proper rest is essential

•  Watch your diet

•  Have a regular exercise program

•  You need a diversion (hobby)

•  Take time off

•  Learn to say “No”

•  DO NOT QUIT!!

•  PRAY

 
These are the encouragements we need when we are discouraged and/or depressed.  If you choose to live by these principles, you will be able to get out of depression.  But you must remember that to win over depression, it is a fight and will take effort and spiritual cooperation with the Lord if we are to overcome.  We are VICTORS IN CHRIST!

If you do not have a church home which preaches and teaches the Truth of the Bible, offers godly fellowship and reminds you that you have a relationship with God by grace through faith alone apart from works, we’d love to have you join us for a service soon. Click here for more about our church.  

In the meantime, here are some other articles and resources you may find helpful on this subject and others.

A good book is:  Depression: Looking Up From The Stubborn Darkness” by Ed Welch

A classic book on this topic is: “Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones