Friday, April 28, 2017

Depression, Is It Sin?

               Depression, Is It Sin?

Is depression sin? Are there reasons for depression that we aren’t aware of and yet we believe it’s sin? Can we detour the unfortunate situations in our lives that cause depression or are they out of our control? Job suffered circumstances that overwhelmed him and physically impaired him. Was he in sin?  If someone suffers from a health issue that is debilitating and becomes depressed due to medication, are they in sin? Do we try to understand what a person is going through and with love and compassion walk with them in their path of depression and pain?

If a person that is suffering from depression is a Christian, we may find Gal 6:2 an important  Scripture to read and obey. “Bear one another's burdens . . .” The death of a loved one or illnesses that are irreversible can cause depression. Accidents leaving a person disabled can cause a person to become depressed. Some people don’t recognize their depression because they’ve blocked it out of their mind. Why? They’ve been taught for years that depression is a sin. Not all depression is caused from unconfessed sin. Most depression is from physical or emotional atrocities that have had devastating effects.

Sometimes we believe that Christians are free from all despairing situations but this is not true. We are fallen men and women and sometimes we just struggle with life. We live in sin scarred bodies and in a sin cursed world. Sometimes depression is not caused by our sinning but because of life itself. If a person has not dealt with their sin, they can suffer from depression. But, to say that all people suffering from depression are in sin is damaging. The Apostle Paul said, "we despaired of life itself" (2 Corinthians 1:8).  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Christ said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul’s reply, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 

Lord, may I have compassion on those who are in depression.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Trusting In The Mighty Hand of God

Trusting In The Mighty Hand Of God

                                      I Peter 5:6,7
     Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God...
         Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

On the night of May 2, 1863, General “Stonewall” Jackson was seriously wounded and his left arm was amputated the following day. Through perilous times, General Jackson, never lost hope in the Lord, the Shepherd and Guardian of his soul (I Peter 1:3-5). What is there to fear when in the mighty hand of God we are comforted, protected and given direction. Jackson was quoted as saying, “My religious belief teaches me that I’m just as safe on the battlefield as I am in my bed. The Lord has already appointed the day of my death so I need not worry about that. I live my life and prepare myself so I will always be ready to meet my Lord, when death does overtake me.”

The Lord encourages us as His children, to cast all our anxieties, fears, and doubts upon Him.  God does not want us to sink under the load of needless cares and fears. The Lover of our soul is watching over us and cares about every detail of our life. Resist the temptation to distrust the One who has made heaven and earth and holds you in the palm of His hand. Trust God's mighty hand to guide, direct and lift you up during times of doubt and personal conflict.

As we cast all our worries on the Lord and prepare ourselves for battle, let us never forget who our enemy is. Satan’s purpose on this earth is to blind, discourage, and destroy God’s people. Satan tries to undermine the character of God and wants us to doubt Him, His Word, and His magnificent power. Casting all our anxieties upon Christ will help us to resist doubt, as well as other temptations. Resisting Satan is a conscience effort of obedience, trusting God and refusing to give in to fear.

Lord, may I humble myself under Your mighty hand and cast all my fears upon You.

Friday, April 14, 2017

What Does Faith Alone Mean?

       What Does Faith Alone Mean?
                                    Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Do you believe that you are saved by grace alone, through faith alone and not by something you have done? Is it through Christ that you have salvation or is it by your works of righteousness  that you possess eternal life? These are questions that should provoke you to search for Truth in the Word of God.

Have you been taught that God has already done His part now the rest is up to you? Is individual salvation or exaltation earned through man’s compliance with the laws of God? Are you convinced that the grace of God coupled with gospel obedience is salvation? My dear friend, no one can keep God’s commands fully or perfectly, no matter how good their intentions are. What a heavy load you must bear in order to appear spiritually well. This is an unreasonable demand put upon you and therefore causes you to live your life in guilt, never feeling quite good enough. This is a shame because salvation is freely given by grace (the initiative or plan of God) through faith and not of yourself.

Because everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), all of us deserve His wrath and punishment. But, God in His infinite grace and mercy has provided a way that His wrath can be appeased and we can be reconciled to Him. That way is through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ. He paid the price for our sins through His death on the cross. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. God’s saving grace is His gift to us. He is the ultimate example of One willing to suffer in obedience to God.  Jesus said, “It is finished” on the cross, the greatest act of love perfectly completed.

Lord, thank You for so great a salvation.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Are We Loving One Another?

           Are We Loving One Another?
                                       I John 3:23
And this is his commandment, That we believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he gave us commandment.

What do you do when someone comes to you and says, “I’m worried, I’m afraid, I’m hurting or I’m depressed?”  Do you have to personally experience their specific pain or suffering to be able to listen or care for them? Do you think that the only people that can help those in distress are pastors, elders or professional therapists?

The Bible makes our response clear towards a brother or sister in need, “. . . love one another earnestly from a pure heart. . .” (1 Peter 1:22,23). The love indicated here by Peter is the love of choice and to meet the needs of another with a fervent, unfeigned love. The definition of fervent is: having or displaying a passionate intensity and unfeigned means: genuine; sincere. We don’t need to have all the answers to be able to come along side someone and love them through their sorrow. We need to love them where they are and know that God commands us to do so in Scripture. John 13:34; 15:12,17; Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John 4:7 are Christ’s command to us to “love one another.” Our responsibility is not to “fix” the person who’s suffering but to love them as Christ has loved us.

Love is portrayed by concern, compassion, sympathy, and affection. Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is patient, kind, and never ending.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. The theme that resonates throughout the entire Bible is the love that God has for His own, an unconditional love. This sincere and genuine love motivates one to share Christ with those that are lost and care for those that are hurting and hopeless.

Lord, may my heart be caring, my actions be kind and my desired purpose be in loving others to the glory of God.