Purity 302 12/28/2020
Today’s photo comes from a friend in Columbia County that caught this
spectacular sunset on Christmas day.
As we enter into the
last week of 2020, I want to encourage my friends to reflect on the past year
and to specifically think about the ways God has blessed you with His grace,
mercy, provision, and love.
If you can’t see it,
I pray for you to ask God to open your eyes to His kingdom and allow you to
enter into all He has for you.
I’m on vacation this
week and will be taking a break from the daily posts on FB, and the blog, to rest
and to reflect on the year’s journey and to draw closer to the Father.
God willing, I will
start sharing “my views” again a week from today.
(There is More at
the restricted blog). Follow me on Twitter, MeWe, or Parler for easy
access. Blog M T 4 Christ dot org – This
is where the Facebook post ends.)
This morning’s verse
comes from my morning Bible study:
Luke 5:8 (NKJV)
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he
fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man,
When you have been walking with the Lord long enough, and make a regular
practice of studying the Bible, the Lord blesses you with “milestone” markers
on your journey with Him.
Luke 5 is a milestone for me because it was from Luke 5 that I composed
the first “sermon” or gospel message I ever composed and delivered. I delivered that message at my church in front
of my fellow Bible college students and instructors, in the 7th
street park in the city of Hudson, and to children at a school in
As a Christian who came to faith after walking in the world’s darkness
for 38 years of my life, I really could relate to Peter’s response to Jesus
when He realized that Jesus wasn’t just a religious teacher, that the One who
taught with such authority and caused miracles to happen right before his eyes
was the Messiah, the Son of God and God the Son.
Peter was declaring that as a “sinful man” that He wasn’t worthy of
being in Jesus’ presence but as Jesus explains later in Luke 5, He came not to
call the righteous, but came to call sinners to repentance.
The recognition of who Jesus is can only be followed by one of two
things: rejection or repentance. If we
really understand who Christ is, we make Him our Lord and Savior and follow
It is my prayer that anyone reading these words would know that Christ
has called you worthy of His presence and He has the best way for your
life. Read the scriptures and pray daily
and you can revisit the milestones in your journey with the Lord that never ends.
Today we continue chapter 8 of Anderson & Baumchen’s Finding Hope
Again, where the authors discuss “explanatory styles”, the ways we deal with
loss and who they impact our grief.
I have forged ahead in my reading and can’t recommend this book any more
highly. The Lord has made ways for us to learn about our human condition and
how our faith is the answer, but we must not only seek the truth but apply it
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and
encourage all to purchase Anderson’s books for your own private study and to
support his work:
Difficult times befall us all on the road to wholeness
and maturity. Some people bounce back rather quickly, but others struggle for
weeks or months, and some never recover from their loss. Most people learn how
to accept and grow through childhood mistakes, adolescent embarrassments, young
adult misunderstandings and adult problems of all kinds. Some have had more
than their share of afflictions. God must have known that they had broad
shoulders, or was preparing them for a special ministry of helping others
through their crises.
Why do some recover faster than others
when faced with the same crisis? Does one have greater health or greater
support from others? The major difference in our ability to recover is found in
the way we perceive events that befall us. Our beliefs about these events,
ourselves and God will determine if we respond in fear, despair or faith.
We interpret trials and tribulations through
the grid of our previous learning experiences. We attempt to explain what
happened and why it happened. How we explain difficult circumstances and
painful events is drawn from our beliefs about God, ourselves, others and the
way we think the world works.
Some of the most enlightening research
responsible for the theory of explanatory styles was conducted by Martin
Seligman, the same person who did the pioneering research on learned
chapter 7). Seligman asked:
How do you think about the cause of the misfortunes, small and large,
that befall you? Some people, the ones who give up easily, habitually say of
their misfortunes: "It's me, it's going to last forever, it's going to
undermine everything I do." Others, those who resist giving in to
misfortune, say: "It was just circumstances, it's going away quickly
anyway, and besides, there's much more in life."
According to Seligman, we have all developed
explanatory styles to deal with crisis events. These explanatory styles
determine how soon and even whether we will recover from losses. These
explanatory styles are made up of the following three constructs.
It will last forever.
The speed of our recovery is greatly affected by whether
we think the consequences of the crisis will have a short-term or a long-term
effect on us. If we think our problems today will negatively affect us all our
lives, then we will become pessimistic, believe that the situation is hopeless
and consequently feel depressed.
This kind of thinking is so commonplace
that we are hardly aware of it. Suppose a husband thinks, My wife is
cranky. She must be in a bad mood. That is a short-term problem, and it
will have very little lasting effect upon her husband. He may decide to avoid
confrontation until the mood passes. But if the husband thinks, My wife is
cranky. She is an irritable person, he is viewing the situation as a
long-term problem. His response could vary from:
"I'm going to ignore her." That is denial.
"I'm going to try controlling her." That is
"I'm going to try appeasing her." That is
"I'm going to try to change her." That will be
"I'm going to avoid her." That is resignation.
"I'm going to love her and learn to live with
her." That is acceptance.
When people reach the stage of
depression on the crisis cycle, they are at a major crossroad. They can believe
that their predicament is permanent and resign, or they can see it as
impermanent and come to reach that point of acceptance, saying, "I can't
change what happened, but by the grace of God I can change myself. I can come
through this crisis a better person."
A young couple attending seminary came
to see me. They had tried every possible means to have children. Their
disappointment with God was written all over their faces. They had all but
given up on any hope of having children. They had one other option, but it was
very expensive and a very unnatural means of child reproduction.
Theirs was a reactionary depression. At
first they had been angry toward God, then they had tried bargaining with Him.
"Lord, will you let us have children if we promise to go to the mission
field?" All they heard from heaven was silence. I suggested the
possibility that they weren't supposed to have children of their own.
"You mean just give up," she
"No, that would be
resignation," I responded. "I think you should consider trusting God
again, and accepting His will for your life. There may be reasons why you
shouldn't have children, reasons that we don't know about. We only see one
little piece of a giant puzzle, but God sees the whole picture. If God has laid
it on your heart to have children, then maybe He wants you to consider adoption
as an alternative, or possibly He is calling you to work with children."
There are many crisis events and losses
that cannot be altered, and that will result in our having to live with their
consequences all our lives. Such events include losing a spouse to death or
losing a leg to injury. The loss is permanent, but it doesn't have to
negatively affect us permanently. How we respond to the loss will determine
whether the crisis makes us or breaks us. The crises of life are not intended
by God to destroy us, but they do reveal who we are. They do expose our
character and reveal what or whom we believe in.
Difficult circumstances are
opportunities to adjust our course of life. When a pilot encounters turbulent
air while flying he may consider going higher or lower, but stopping is a poor
option. Someone once said that a bend in the road is not the end of the road
unless you fail to make the turn.
Joni Eareckson Tada must have felt that
her life had come to the end of the road when she found herself paralyzed after
a swimming accident. In an interview recorded in June 1993 on a Focus on the
Family broadcast, she said, "I wanted to end my life, and the frustration
I felt at not being able to do that only intensified my depression. I was so
desperate, I begged one of my friends to help me end it all." Thank God
that she couldn't, and thank God that He enabled Joni to make the bend in the
road and become a blessing to millions.
The future belongs to the Church, not
to the lost. "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an
eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" (2 Cor. 4:17).
The Lord never sees our troubles as permanent; to Him they are momentary. To
the troubled nation of Israel, He said, "For I know the plans that I have
for you…plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a
Even when the children of Israel failed
Him badly, God showed mercy toward them and restored what was lost: "I
will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten," (Joel 2:25). God
will make it right in the end.
When we are in the darkness of
depression, it is easy to believe the lie that God's favor is only momentary
and His anger will last forever. But the truth is, "His anger is but for a
moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout
of joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).
Winter is not permanent, even though
you can't sense the warmth of summer. You must choose to believe that summer
comes. When you think your crisis is permanent, then consider again the words
of Jeremiah in Lament.
remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well
remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and
therefore I have hope: because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your
It will ruin my whole life.
The "grid" of pervasiveness refers to the
extent to which a crisis can affect other areas of one's life. An example of
pervasive thinking is to conclude that if we failed in one endeavor, then we
must be a total failure, or to think that our lives are over if we were turned
down or rejected by someone on whom we based our whole future.
To illustrate, take Sandy, who went
through a painful breakup with her boyfriend. She mourned the loss of a loved
one with whom she hoped to spend the rest of her life. Would anyone ever
want to marry me? she wondered.
Sandy cried incessantly for the first
two and a half days, and on and off after that. She didn't want to be around
anybody, and she began missing work. Her "explanatory style" led
Sandy to think her employer would eventually discover her to be inadequate
anyway, so why bother trying? Her friends called, but she often didn't return
their calls; and when she did she was cold and distant. The loss she was
experiencing in one area of her life was projected onto every other area.
Consequently, she felt there was no hope for her.
Don't let one loss infiltrate other
aspects of your life. If you experience loss, it does not mean you are a loser
in life. If you fail to accomplish one goal, you are not a failure. If you get
laid off at work, it doesn't mean you are an irresponsible dad or a bad husband
or an incompetent Sunday School teacher.
The tendency of this kind of thinking
is to rest our whole sense of worth on one relationship, experience, idea or
plan. When plans or relationships don't last or fail to materialize, we wrongly
deem ourselves failures.
It's me! It's all my fault!
The third construct in explanatory styles is to take
personal responsibility for something we didn't cause or couldn't control. In
personalization, the depressed person feels responsible for another person's
anger, for the downsizing of a corporation, for bad weather, for not knowing
the future and for a host of other uncontrollable circumstances and situations.
Little children become depressed when
their parents get divorced because they think it is their fault. Many
perfectionists struggle with depression because they have a tendency to blame
themselves for everything. One little crisis upsets their idealized world and
they can't help but think, It's my fault. They become so driven to
achieve their self-made goals that they become supersensitive to any failure or
Personalization distorts the perception
of reality. When a crisis erupts at work, some immediately think, What did
I do now? They may go home and obsessively review the incident, looking
for what they did wrong. They live on "if onlys." "If only I had
done that, she would never have left me"; "If only I had joined the
Navy when I had a chance."
Much of the identity of such people
rides on the successful outcome of life events. The fact is, they have it
backward. Their identity and their future rests on identifying who they are in
Christ and the truth that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Him
(see Romans 8:1).
Many of these people were wrongly
accused in early childhood, and they have come to believe they have a part to
play in every negative thing that happens. Paul says, "Let no one keep
defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement" (Col. 2:18).
Others are just victims of the accuser,
Satan, who accuses them day and night. They never understood the battle for
their minds, nor learned how to take every thought captive to the obedience of
Blaming ourselves for every crisis in
life and for every slight imperfection is a sure way to perpetuate a failure
identity and depression. On the other hand, blaming others is a sure way to
become bitter, angry, proud, self-serving and abusive. Self-exaltation is as
bad as self-condemnation. "For through the grace given to me I say to
every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think;
but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure
of faith" (Romans
12:3). It doesn't do any good to blame others, and it doesn't do any good
to blame ourselves. Neither pride nor false humility is a proper response to
the trials and tribulations of life.
Finding Hope Again: Overcoming Depression.
you all and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!