Labels

Showing posts with label Depression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Depression. Show all posts

Thursday, August 4, 2022

The Answer for Depression and Anxiety - Purity 801


The Answer for Depression and Anxiety - Purity 801

Purity 801 08/04/2022  Purity 801 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a path through the woods comes to us from a friend who “made a few wrong turns on the Blue Trail at Garnsey Park” in Rexford NY but got lost in its beauty and vows to absolutely go back again. And just like our friend, if we make a few wrong turns in life, we should remember the beauty we experienced in the Lord’s presence and vow to follow Him again.

Well it's Thursday again and I share a photo of a pathway as is my habit because Thursdays are the days that I encourage people to get on the path of Christian discipleship as I will be leading a men's group through Freedom in Christ Ministries’ “The Grace Course” on Zoom this evening.

As much as I experience the joy that comes from walking in the Spirit on the path of Christian discipleship, I have to admit that with the joy comes a considerable amount of pain in the terms of the compassion I have for the friends, family, and old acquaintances that I see as they struggle through life without the Lord.

A good deal of my morning this morning was spent sending a reply to a text that I had received from an old friend who was reporting that his son was depressed and feeling anxious. His son had reached out to me in the past and I had done my best to encourage him to seek the Lord and to the find the peace that comes from following the Lord, but the son failed to do what I suggested and never contacted me again.

Now months later, things have deteriorated to the point where the father is thinking about referring his son to a psychiatrist and putting him on medication. While there is certainly need for doctors and medications to help in certain situations, my familiarity with this case would lead me to state that the overwhelming problem here is that this young man does not know who he is in Christ and because of that  he does not know his self-worth or the purpose that the Lord has for his life.

Instead he isolated himself by doing things his way. He surrounded himself with the things of this world. Instead of going the way he should go, as according to the word of God, he has gone his own way and is suffering because of it.

As someone who was lost in the darkness for years and years and years, I can tell you that when you isolate and surround yourself with the things of this world, you will eventually have reasons to be depressed and to feel anxious.  The world doesn't offer any answers. It just offers temporary relief and when that relief is gone, you are left feeling empty.

They say the prophets’ curse is that you know the truth and no one listens to you.  Well I don't claim to be a prophet, but I think I have a small idea about their pain and  I can tell you I do know what happens when you decide to follow the Lord.  As much as I can encourage others, I also understand the need for a personal revelation of the Lord's goodness which only comes from seeking Him.

Our faith has to be more than just an intellectual belief or a theological understanding. Our faith has to be a deep trust in the Lord, meaning we turn to him, talk to Him, read His word, and try to align our lives with His wisdom.

When we fail to do that, we can easily doubt that God is even real. Reading the Bible, going to church, and praying can seem like cold and empty things unless we really believe that God is with us and we reach out to Him in faith to establish that connection, that personal relationship with God.

So my heart bleeds for this man, his son, and for other people who have left me or who I have left behind simply by walking forward on the path of Christian discipleship.

We say we want peace but some of us don’t want to pay the cost. 

If we want the peace of the Lord, we have to surrender to Him. That's what “Lord” means. He's the boss. We are bondservants- slaves – and God is our Good and Holy Master who loves us. We follow Him because he is powerful. We follow him because he is wise. We follow him because he knows what's best. So we have to exchange our control of our lives for His. 

Don’t get me wrong, We still have free will. We can do whatever we want. But when we decide to follow the Lord and do what He suggests in His word, which is contrary to everything we learn from the world, our families and society, we discover that God is real, that God is with us, and although it might not always be easy, we discover that His way is the only way, the best way, to live.

Our faith has to be more than theological understanding. Our faith needs to be a relationship. In a relationship we talk to the other person. We also listen. So in our relationship with God, we have to talk to Him, literally with our voices, but also through the study of His word and through the practices of the Christian faith such as going to church and praying.

We also need to make ourselves open to His suggestions to do good works. After we follow the Lord for a while we'll get intuitions to do good things. We'll get invitations to serve at church or serve in our communities or help with family and friends. These invitations to do good works are another part of our relationship with the Lord. When we answer the invitation, and actually help people which we wouldn't do on our own normally, we enter in deeper to our relationship with God.

Our relationship with the Lord is really shown in that the fact that we are shaping our lives to live the way He suggests. When we don’t do that, or step off His path, we suffer. Ask me how I know.

Even though I pray and read the Bible every day, I recently wasn't diligent in terms of what I put before my eyes and in terms of what I was putting in my mouth, in terms of food, and I suffered the consequences.

But the good news is that I saw what I was doing and I repented. Over the last several days, I have made a concerted effort to adjust my eating habits and to be discerning in terms of what I spend my time watching or focusing on. I decided to turn back to the Lord in a deeper way and I've benefited greatly already.

From last week to today, I've lost three pounds and I feel spiritually regenerated because I am being self-aware about my physical and spiritual health. My focus hasn't gone to the silly things that I was watching before. I've found my rest and my peace in the Lord instead of the things of the world and realize now my mistake and I shouldn't necessarily go back to the world when I want to “take a break and relax”. 

I get it though, life is hard but God is good!

So all I can do is encourage others to do the same as I've done. “Seek the Lord” is my one a piece of advice that will never change. But it's not my advice that will help you. The only One that will help you is the Lord and the only thing that will help you is your making the daily decision to follow Him.

So let me share Psalm 138, because if you get nothing else out of this blog or podcast today, at least I would have proven faithful  by sharing the word of God.

Psalm 138:1-8 (NKJV)
1  I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
2  I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
3  In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul.
4  All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD, When they hear the words of Your mouth.
5  Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, For great is the glory of the LORD.
6  Though the LORD is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar.
7  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.
8  The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

So praise the Lord, worship Him, and He will answer you when you cry out and He will make you bold with His strength. 

Keep walking and talking with God and you can overcome all that ails you and regardless of the difficulties or troubles of this life, when you follow Him you will have the peace that goes beyond all understanding, the peace that only comes from God, when you have peace with God, through faith in Christ alone.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

 

This morning’s meditation verse is:

 

Luke 18:27 (NLT2)
27  He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

Today’s verse are the words of Jesus, who encourages us to trust the Lord for the impossible.  

In Neil Anderson and Timothy Warner’s book, “The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare”, the authors state that the biggest lie the enemy tells the Christian is that something is “impossible.”  As we can see from today’s verse, the belief that something is impossible goes directly against the words of Jesus.  

But let’s be clear here, Jesus does not say that “nothing is impossible”, He says that “What is impossible for people is possible with God”.  The key here is “with God”.  So if you are not walking with God, you will discover that there are many things that are impossible.  

But let’s keep it real here too. Even if you do walk with the Lord, and we know that the Lord can do the impossible, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Lord will grant all your impossible wishes.  

Remember, Lord means that God is the boss, and He has infinitely more knowledge and wisdom than we have, and that He has His own purposes too.  

One of the most faithful Christians was the Apostle Paul, and he confesses in one of His epistles to an affliction that he associated with the devil, a thorn in the flesh, and he prayed to have it taken away, but the Lord let it stay and advised Paul that His grace was sufficient, saying. 

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)
9  …, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

To which Paul responds by saying:

“Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Although he didn’t get what he was hoping for, Paul did pray for the “impossible healing” so we should pray and work to overcome “the impossible things” in our lives too. 

The Lord may choose to do the impossible in our lives or He will give you the strength to endure impossible situations and be strengthened through them.   But either way we can rejoice that the Lord is with us and the power of Christ rests upon us. 

______________________________________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

11 - Spiritual Warfare

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesians 6:12 is one of the best-known verses of the entire Bible, yet one of the most misunderstood, misconstrued and practically neglected texts of the Scripture. Immersed in a culture that says evil spirits do not exist, Western Christians struggle even to begin the task of spiritual warfare. We spend more time wondering if we really should believe in demons than grappling with how we should respond to them.

On this topic some of us suffer double-mindedness. Although mental assent is given to the likelihood that evil spirits exists since it is affirmed in the Bible, in reality it makes no practical difference in the way we live our day-to-day lives. When dealing with a personal problem such as illness or depression, medical and psychological services are the only considered alternatives. Little thought is given to the spiritual side. Even in Christian ministry the spiritual dimension is often ignored. Ineffective evangelism, for example, is often attributed to a lack of training or persuasive skill rather than powerful demonic hindrance.

Some segments of Christianity do take seriously demonic existence. They attempt to confront the spiritual dimension. Unfortunately the excesses of a few of these groups sometimes overshadows the healthy aspects of the teaching and practice of others. Ephesians 6:10–20 wrongly becomes a manifesto on exorcism. Or demons are seen behind virtually every problem. The rest of Christianity lamentably writes off the helpful perspective of these groups on the demonic because they appear to be extreme.

We need, more than ever, to gain a revitalized perspective on spiritual warfare. If we are not aware of the subtle and powerful work of our enemy, he will defeat us. Perhaps he already has certain areas of life strongly in his grip, where we have not been aware of his devious work.

Many thinkers believe Western society is on the verge of a major world view shift. Scholars such as Hans K√ľng are anticipating an epochal move from the “Modern Era” to a “Post-Modern Era,” a major paradigm change in the way Westerners view reality. There is no doubt that the rising influence of Eastern thought and the burgeoning impact of the New Age movement will have influence on how Western culture perceives the supernatural. The church needs to be prepared for this new challenge. Few would give the church a strong mark on its preparedness to handle effectively the special problems that arise in ministering to people who have been involved in the “occult.” The best way to determine what spiritual warfare means for us now is to discern what it meant for Paul and his readers back then. First of all, spiritual warfare needs to be understood in terms of what it meant to people living in Ephesus and western Asia Minor where occult beliefs flourished and the reality of the influence of the spirit realm was unquestioned. Second, it needs to be understood in the larger context of the entire book of Ephesians.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 148–149.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Compass to Guide You on the Path of Christian Discipleship – The Holy Spirit and our Conscience – Purity 717


 The Compass to Guide You on the Path of Christian Discipleship – The Holy Spirit and our Conscience – Purity 717

Purity 717 04/28/2022    Purity 717 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the waters of the Colorado River under a cloudless blue sky near Boulder City Nevada comes to us from a friend who recently took an epic trip throughout the southwest which included a kayak tour of the Colorado that took him  all the way to Emerald Cove. 

Well, It’s Thursday again, and I share this photo of a river “pathway” not to encourage you to take the “yellow brick road” to an Emerald City but to encourage you to take the path less traveled by making the daily decision to walk in the Spirit on the path of Christian Discipleship.

What’s that mean? That means I encourage you to do the Lord’s will for your life that is described in His Word, the Holy Bible, which begins with making Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior and continues with the renewing of your mind with the truth of God’s Word and by applying it’s wisdom to your life, not just on Sunday, but every day,  24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, because the value of our faith, of our relationship with God, is only truly “redeemed” when we choose to live it out continuously.

People on the outside of this Christian life, often question why anyone would want to be Christian.  They see Christianity as a set of rules and restrictions and to be a religion of repression. They are spiritual blind to the truth of God’s word that would show them that God’s commandments are put in place to protect us from the things that would harm us or that is wrong.  

I was reading Jay Adams “Competent to Counsel” yesterday and although it was written over 50 years ago, our society still hasn’t learned anything in terms of how we can have “good mental health”, how we can have peace.   Taking on Freud’s view that man’s problems are caused by too strict a conscience, Freud’s superego, and that we need to reject our conscience’s guilt and to just do what we want to be fulfilled, Adams wrote: 

If Freud’s view were correct, namely, that trouble arises whenever the Id has been repressed by an overstrict conscience or Superego, then really our day ought to be a day of widespread mental health rather than a day of unparalleled numbers of personal problems, for ours is not a day of repression, but of permissiveness.

If there was ever a time in which the lid was off, in which there was wide open rebellion against authority and responsibility, ours is that day.

And yet unprecedented numbers are in trouble.

If Freudianism is true, the most immoral people, or at best the most amoral people, should be the healthiest, whereas in fact the opposite is true.

People in mental institutions and people who come to counseling invariably are people with great moral difficulties.

“Moral difficulties” does not always mean sexual violations; that is only one aspect of it.

Immorality of every sort, irresponsibility toward God and man (i.e., the breaking of God’s commandments) is found most prominently among people with personal problems.[1]

This was 50 years ago! Do you think we have “let the lid off” anymore since then?  We are a more permissive “tolerant” society than we ever have been, and yet mental health problems have only gotten worse.  

“New research from Boston University School of Public Health reveals that the elevated rate of depression has persisted into 2021, and even worsened, climbing to 32.8 percent and affecting 1 in every 3 American adults.” (https://www.bu.edu/articles/2021/depression-rates-tripled-when-pandemic-first-hit/)

On average, adjusted for age, the annual U.S. suicide rate increased 30% between 2000 and 2020, from 10.4 to 13.5 suicides per 100,000 people. In 2018, 14.2 people per 100,000 died by suicide, the highest rate recorded in more than 30 years.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_the_United_States#:~:text=On%20average%2C%20adjusted%20for%20age,in%20more%20than%2030%20years.)

Hey guys, as our society has become more permissive morally and less “religious”,   depression and suicide rates have increased.  Letting our freak flag fly has not liberated us to the point where there is an increase in happiness and peace but the subsequent moral no man’s land of “anything goes” has caused confusion, depression, and disillusionment because people are discovering that satisfying our selfish and fleshly desires doesn’t bring satisfaction or peace.  

If we have exercised our “freedom” to do what ever we want, why isn’t society overflowing with happiness?

Well, unfortunately, people are living out the consequences of their sins.  Not only does the pleasure dissipate and negative consequences accompany the choice to sin, our consciences – our hearts- suffer because it knows, even if we deny it to everyone , including ourselves, that the way we are living isn’t right.  

We can lie to ourselves and reject the opinions of others, but our hearts were made with God’s law written on them. Our consciences are God given and it should cause us to turn from the things that are we once knew were wrong.  

As a child, I could see that getting drunk “wasn’t right”.  It made people act strange.  But through the influence of society and my own rebellion, I decided to ignore my conscience and changed my mind and suddenly what was “bad” was “good”.  

But as much as I indulged and as much as I loved my addiction to alcohol and other things, even in the midst of them, I knew these things were wrong.  My experience taught me that, but I knew in my heart that the way I lived was wrong.   I was living in “total freedom”, so where was the peace?   

Well, I’ve learned that there is no peace without God and when we think and behave in ways that our contrary to His truth, we suffer and if we are never reconciled with God through faith in Jesus Christ, our suffering never ends.   

But we know the truth. There is a God. He has revealed to us in our hearts and in His word what is right and what is wrong.  While we can deny Him and His tenants for morality, just like gravity, we are still subject to His moral laws which affect our minds, bodies, and emotions. When we separate ourselves from the One who gave us life and violate His commandments we suffer.   

But there is great news. There is hope.  Christ paid the cost on the cross so we could be forgiven of the violations we have made and when we put our faith in Him we receive a new life that gives us the power to listen to our consciences and gives us the power to overcome the sins that so easily beset us.  

When we come to faith in Christ, our hearts – our consciences, are strengthened by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and we receive the power to obey the Lord and walk away from the darkness of this world.  

So share the good news and keep walking and talking with God. When we are “in this thing” called Christianity, we have the power of God in us to choose what is right and holy and turn from the  things that tempt us and lead to destruction.  Instead of being hopeless in a cycle of condemnation by sinning and confessing, we can follow the “Compass”  of our Holy Spirit empowered conscience to walk out of depression, out of sin, and into the light of the new abundant life that God always wanted us to experience.     

______________________________________________________________

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 25:9 (NLT2)
9  He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way.

Today’s Bible verse speaks of how the Lord will lead the humble into doing what is right and how He will teach them His way.  

To believe in God and  the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must be humble.  To believe, we have to admit that there is a higher power than us, who has a holy standard for living that we have violated, and that we are powerless to make things right with Him through our own efforts. We have to be humble to ask for forgiveness. We have to be humble to make Christ our Lord and Savior.  

But when we humble ourselves before God by admitting our sins, and by asking for forgiveness, and by making Christ our Lord,  God will lift us up!

Our humble decision to trust in Christ gives us eternal life but it also gives us the opportunity to live a righteous life by receiving the power to learn God’s ways and to apply them to our lives.  

When we humble ourselves, God will lead us to do what is right. 

When we humble ourselves, He teaches us His way.  

So if things have gone astray or if you are feeling you have lost your way humble yourself by calling on the Lord and asking for His help to show you how you can do what is right. If we are humble, He will lead us and He will teach us His way.

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

 

The Christ-Exalting Paradoxes of Life

A life devoted to making much of Christ is costly. And the cost is both a consequence and a means of making much of him. If we do not embrace the path of joy-laden, painful love, we will waste our lives. If we do not learn with Paul the Christ-exalting paradoxes of life, we will squander our days pursuing bubbles that burst. He lived “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:10). The Calvary road is costly and painful, but it is not joyless.

When we embrace with joy the cost of following Christ, his worth will shine in the world. The cost itself will become a means of making Christ look great. The apostle Paul had one great passion in life. We have seen him say it several ways: to know nothing but Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2); to boast only in the cross (Galatians 6:14).

Paul’s Single Passion in Life and Death

He talked about his great passion another way that shows us how the cost of making much of Christ is also the means. He said to the Philippian church, “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20–21). Here the question is raised and answered: How do you honor Christ by death? How can the cost of losing everything in this world be a means of making much of Jesus? Let’s listen carefully to Paul. Christ has called us live for his glory and to die for his glory. If we know how to die well, we will know how to live well. This text shows both.

Again we see Paul’s single passion in life—“that … Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” If Christ is not made much of in our lives, they are wasted. We exist to make him appear in the world as what he really is—magnificent. If our life and death do not show the worth and wonder of Jesus, they are wasted. This is why Paul said that his aim in life and death was “that … Christ … be honored.”

Our Shame and Our Treasure

Notice the unusual way he makes this clear in verse 20: “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed.” Stop here just a moment. Shame is that horrible feeling of guilt or failure when you don’t measure up before people whose approval you want very much. It’s what the little child feels in the Christmas program when he forgets his lines, and the tears well up, and the silence seems eternal, and the other kids snicker brutally. I remember these horrible times. Or shame is what a president feels when the secret tapes are finally played, and the foul language and all the deceit emerges, and he stands disgraced and guilty before the people.

What then is the opposite of shame? It’s when the child remembers the lines and hears the applause. It’s when the president governs well and is reelected. The opposite of being shamed is being honored. Yes, usually. But Paul was a very unusual person. And Christians ought to be very unusual people. For Paul, the opposite of being shamed was not his being honored, but Christ’s being honored through him. “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that … Christ will be honored in my body.”

What you love determines what you feel shame about. If you love for men to make much of you, you will feel shame when they don’t. But if you love for men to make much of Christ, then you will feel shame if he is belittled on your account. And Paul loved Christ more than he loved anything or anyone. “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7–8).

Whenever something is of tremendous value to you, and you cherish its beauty or power or uniqueness, you want to draw others’ attention to it and waken in them the same joy. That is why Paul’s all-consuming goal in life was for Christ to be magnified. Christ was of infinite value to Paul, and so Paul longed for others to see and savor this value. That is what it means to magnify Christ—to show the magnitude of his value.

Doesn’t Death Make Magnifying God Impossible?

But what if someone objected to Paul at this point and said, “Paul, we see how valuable Christ is to you now—how you enjoy his fellowship, how he gives you a fruitful ministry and delivers your life from spiritual shipwreck. But what will all that mean in the hour of death? Where is the value of Christ then? If being a Christian costs you your life, how will that help you make much of Christ? Won’t that rob you of the very life that can magnify him?”

So Paul adds at the end of verse 20 that his eager expectation is that “Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” Death is a threat to the degree that it frustrates your main goals. Death is fearful to the degree that it threatens to rob you of what you treasure most. But Paul treasured Christ most, and his goal was to magnify Christ. And he saw death not as a frustration of that goal but as an occasion for its fulfillment.

Life and death! They seem like complete opposites—at great enmity with each other. But for Paul—and for all who share his faith—there is a unity, because the same great passion is fulfilled in both—namely, that Christ be magnified in this body—our bodies—whether by life or by death.

In Philippians 1:21, Paul gives a packed summary statement explaining how he is so hopeful that Christ will be magnified in his living and in his dying: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Then in verses 22–26 Paul explains both halves of this statement so we can see in more detail how Christ is magnified by life and by death.

Let’s take these one at a time.[2]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Jay Edward Adams, Competent to Counsel: Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling (Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library, 1986), 13.

[2] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 63–66.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Fading Sun, Falling Spirits - Depression and Vitamin D - Purity 571


 Fading Sun, Falling Spirits - Depression and Vitamin D -  Purity 571

Purity 571 11/09/2021  Purity 571 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of the sun over, and reflected in, the waters of the Erie Canal at Lock # 3 off of Washington Avenue in Waterford NY comes to us from yours truly as I realized that there was a sight to behold behind me as I was sitting in my van at the end of the work day yesterday, teaching me once again that if we are too focused about the things in front of us we may be missing out on other opportunities that are available for us to experience.  

Last week the position of the sun wouldn’t have been where it was at this time of day but since we have reclaimed the hour we lost to daylight savings time; we may have to look for the joys of the setting sun a little earlier than we are used to. 

Just because the world changes doesn’t mean we are not responsible to move and adapt with the changes.  We can complain, resist, and not like it but peace and contentment are generally found by recognizing the circumstances around us for what they are, accepting them for what they are, and operating based on them, when necessary.  

Oh a quick heads up, the reality of seasonal affective disorder, the fact that our mental states could go down with the sun into depressive tendencies, is upon us and one of the things that the experts recommend is to increase our vitamin D intake to compensate for the losses caused by the reduction of our exposure to sunshine.  One study (https://medcraveonline.com/IPMRJ/vitamin-d-for-depression-with-a-seasonal-pattern-an-effective-treatment-strategy.html) suggests that daily intake of 100,000 IU of vitamin D may improve the depressive symptoms of season affective disorder.    

And when I asked my in house expert “Alexa”, how much vitamin D we should take daily, “she” responded that we should take 400 mcg (5,000 IU is 125mcg) of vitamin D each day.  As for my “in house expert”,  please consult other sources as Alexa sometimes don’t answer the same question the same way twice.  

As always be discerning in where you get your information from, consult a multiplicity of sources, and be aware that no matter what you are told, you alone are responsible for the decisions you make and will be subject to the consequences of your decisions and the information you base them on.  

I’m not sure how much vitamin D I get from the foods that I eat or my exposure to the sun but I would imagine that I fall way short of normal and use vitamin D supplements to compensate for my medically diagnosed “vitamin D deficiency” but based on this information and the changing seasons I will be increasing my vitamin D intake to make up for the gaps of my knowledge and whatever losses we can expect from the reduced exposure to the sun in the days ahead.  

As we approach Thanksgiving in two weeks, we will be in the holiday season before we know it and as much as some are filled with joy in later November and the month of December at the prospect of Christmas, many suffer from bouts of the holiday blues as the stress around the changing seasons of our lives as well as the preparations for the festivities can lead to depression.  Disillusionment around dashed expectations and the affect of remembering the dearly departed can also make the season of joy turn into the winter of our discontent. 

So I wanted to give everyone the heads up about vitamin D and the high levels they recommend for healthy living.  I myself was ignorant of how much we should have and wanted to make my friends aware. Of course you should examine your diet and consult with a doctor if depression is a real concern to determine how much vitamin D you should take and to consider the use of other medications that could help in combatting depression.   

While I believe that utilizing cognitive therapy (directing your thoughts) and a harmonious relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, spiritual therapy if you will, to be the most effective remedy to all the negative states of mind, I recognize the reality that not everyone’s situations are the same in terms of biochemistry, mental capacities, and faith. 

So if you need help, get help. Your loved ones care about your wellbeing and pastoral counselors and mental health professionals are dedicated to the cause of helping those who suffer from depression.

One thing I know for sure is that the Lord loves us and doesn’t want our minds to be filled with thoughts that condemn us or fill us with despair. Christ came to give us life and life more abundantly and scripture teaches the benefits of prayer, gratitude, fellowship, and contentment to help us live victorious lives.

So keep walking and talking with God. Be on the lookout for opportunities to recognize His handiwork in the world and to be filled with the peace and joy that comes from being in His presence.  

Take responsibility for your relationship with God, and your mental health by recognizing His love for you and by being proactive in making sure you are walking into the days ahead aware of your thoughts and moods and are utilizing all the resources the Lord has made available to you to find the peace and contentment that He would want you to experience.


Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.  

This morning’s meditation verse is :

Matthew 26:41 (NLT2)
41  Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

Today’s verse are the words of Jesus, and our Lord and Savior is clear in His warning to us about temptation and the reality of our vulnerable state.    

Jesus was a realist.  He acknowledges that our human spirit may have the best of intentions of being in harmony with the Holy Spirit’s leadings for our lives, but we are still susceptible to falling in temptation because of the weakness of our body, or the flesh as the NKJV puts it.   

The “flesh” is the Bible’s term for our carnal nature, that part of us that seeks to meet physical needs and then some with reckless abandon if it is given total authority.  Gluttons, drunkards, and sex addicts are the extreme examples of when the flesh’s appetite for food and euphoric experiences are unchecked. The “flesh” has no morality and doesn’t care about negative consequences. Like Audrey II, the man eating plant in the Little Shop of Horrors, the flesh only has one directive: “Feed ME!”   

However, even though Christ acknowledges the ability of the weakness of the flesh to compromise our spiritual lives, He doesn’t say that we are powerless against its appetites. He doesn’t say that we are hopeless. 

Instead, Jesus warns us to “watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation”.  So we can be victorious over the flesh.

Those who have put their faith in Jesus have been freed of sin and death. That’s a spiritual reality for all who are Christians but to realize that reality in our lives we have to believe it and we have to act on it by “watching and praying”, meaning that we have to be aware of our surroundings and our thoughts, considering all we experience in light of the wisdom of God’s word, and to be in constant communication with God through formal times of prayer and Bible study and by maintaining a continuous conversation with God as we go through our day.   

Faith in Jesus is the remedy to sin and here our Lord directs us in the practice of the remedy. As Christians we are to be vigilant in our walk by being on guard against external and internal temptations by taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and maintaining a continuous conversation with the Lord that reminds us of who we are in Christ and directs the steps of our journey.

Christ has given us the victory. We just have to beware that our flesh is weak and remember that we can overcome temptation if we watch and pray.  

 

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s “Evil and Suffering… Why? Is God Fair?

 

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work.

B. What Is "Good"?

A sacrificial servant of God, a fearless firefighter, a protective parent—all reflect some aspect of love and goodness. Consider the following definitions:

  • Good is uncorrupted virtue.
        "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31)
  • Good is a moral choice of right over wrong, arising from righteousness of character. The Greek word kalos means "good" that comes from being intrinsically virtuous in character. This goodness, which is honorable, righteous, and morally pure, is a moral choice of good over bad.
        "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." (James 4:17)
  • Goodness is that which causes more goodness. Only Jesus, who is the embodiment of goodness, can produce good.

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11)

 

Question: "Some people say, 'Everyone is born good.' Is this true?"

Answer: the straightforward answer is "No." David states ...

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me."

(Psalm 51:5)

 

Question: "Doesn't the existence of evil prove that God is not a good God?"

Answer: The existence of evil does not negate the existence of a good God any more than darkness negates light or death negates life. Some things are better defined by the contrast of their opposites. Since both good and evil clearly exist, a good God must necessarily exist. What else is the source of good? God in His goodness and in His timing will deal with evil and those who promote evil. The Bible says ...

"The evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out." (Proverbs 24:20)

 

Question: "If God is a good and compassionate God, why doesn't He hear my prayers and answer them?"

Answer: God is not deaf—He hears all of your prayers. In fact, because He knows everything, He knows your requests even before you ask. And He answers sometimes with yes, sometimes with no, and sometimes with wait. God the Father even said no to Jesus when He was facing crucifixion and no to the apostle Paul when he was facing a physical malady. The Father's purpose for Jesus' death was our salvation. God's purpose for Paul's physical ailment was to produce humility in Paul. Realize that He always answers your prayers according to His purposes for you. In the end, the righteous are delivered from all of their troubles.

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." (Psalm 34:17-19)


Biblical Counseling Keys: Evil and Suffering... Why?: Why God? Why?.


---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

 

Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

 

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship