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Showing posts with label Ezekielk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ezekielk. Show all posts

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Low “Causeless” Depression and Praising God Always – A Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1211

 

Low “Causeless” Depression and Praising God Always – A Mindful of Christ Encouragement - Purity 1211

Purity 1211 11/30/2023 Purity 1211 Podcast

Purity 1211 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the silhouettes of trees on the edge of farmland on Waite Rd with the light of sunrise on the horizon comes to us from yours truly as I captured this haunting sunrise scene while out walking the dog this past Sunday morning.  

Well, It’s Thursday and I share this pathway photo that is mostly “off road” as a visual encouragement to get on or to stay on the path of Christian discipleship and to remind us of all that no matter how dark things may get there is always hope when we have faith in Jesus, the light of the world.  

Sometimes I wonder if it is really necessary to continue sharing the same messages that encourage people to know who they are in Christ and to make their lives an ongoing spiritual practice where their hearts and minds are directed towards the things of God and where they literally walk and talk with God in their daily lives.  “Keep on Walking and Talking with God” isn’t just some quaint phrase of general encouragement, it's an exhortation to be taken quite literally.  I know I say that quite often and the reason I do is because a deep personal relationship with God is what can help you to overcome the pains and difficulties that we face with life here on earth. 

And I keep saying that because I see what happens when Christians don’t do it. They make foolish choices. They fall into sin. And sometimes, they just become incredibly depressed under the “unbearable lightness of being”.

Mentioning that phrase is not a recommendation of the movie or book with that title by the way. I don’t recall the story or plot but I’m pretty sure the people in it were not trying to be the people God created them to be by living as followers of Jesus Christ.  That sentiment “the unbearable lightness of being” comes from an atheistic worldview that whimsically appreciates the beauty in the world amongst the tragedy, but subtly sells the lie that there is no ultimate meaning to life so you might as well live it up and give into whatever sensual desires you have, even if they are sin.   

It’s a lie. But with the mundanity of life and the suffering in the world – it’s easy to get drawn into it.  Laments like “Why do things have to be this way?” or “Why am I not happy?” or “Oh what’s the point.” Can subtly erode our peace and cause us to “just feel low” and make us experience what we may think of as “Causeless Depression” – where we just feel down  - where nothing is wrong but where we are incredibly sad or “just low”.  

The Christian Disciple’s remedy for depression is the affirmation and appreciation of who we are in Christ and the realization that God has a plan, and that life has meaning. If we are depressed we need to remind ourselves of God in our life and draw into His presence. Our thoughts impact our emotions, so we need to think about and talk to the Lord.   We can take our depression to Him and come away with joy. However, we may have to do more than hope and pray and meditate on the truth. We may have to do something drastic and proclaim the truth in song.  We need to praise the Lord despite the storm, the tragedy, or just that seemingly “unbearable lightness of being”. 

Right after Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness – a pretty low time in which he had victory, why?, because he combatted the enemy with the truth of God’s word – hello? Anyway, after that, He was “filled with the Holy Spirit’s power” and went into the synagogue in Nazareth and read from Isaiah 61, which said:

Luke 4:18-19 (NKJV)
18  "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."

Jesus then said:

 Luke 4:21 (NKJV)

21   Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

 We don’t have to feel oppressed or depressed. We who have placed our faith in Jesus can experience the freedom (the liberty) Christ has given us, every day.   And the scriptures that Jesus read from give us a clue of how we can experience it.  After the “acceptable year of the Lord”

 Isaiah 61:2-3 (NKJV) goes on to say

2  …. And the day of vengeance of our God;

 That refers to Christ second coming, where He will make everything right and exact vengeance on wicked… 

But the text than says:

Isaiah 61:2-3 (NKJV)

….To comfort all who mourn,
3  To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

And so this text indicates that we can take off “the spirit of heaviness” with the garment of praise.  To receive our beauty for ashes, and oil of joy for mourning – we are subtly directed to praise the Lord.  

We are forgiven, free, and have eternal life in Christ. The big old bad world isn’t so bad in the light of that truth, but we have to resist the devil and fight the world by speaking the word of God and proclaiming it in song!   Paul tells us to do this in

Ephesians 5:18-20 (NKJV)
18  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
19  speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20  giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

That’s how we live in the Spirit and take off the spirit of heaviness,  We praise. 

I was inspired to write this because I encountered a Christian who has been suffering from a “seemingly causes less depression” and they experienced some relief through praise. In their case, I commended their efforts, but they admitted to not being out of the woods yet and still felt “low”.  So I recommended they go through the Steps to Freedom in Christ – to proclaim their faith and to confess and renounce any and everything in their life that may be giving the enemy a foothold in life.  Although I gave them a copy of the Steps to Freedom in Christ months ago, they never prayed through them. So I recommended doing that and to continue meditating on who they are in Christ and to PRAISE THE LORD in song.    

I was also encouraged that other Christians who are in the encouragement business agree with me and am sharing Mindful of Christ’s Word for Wednesday from this week, where Lauren Roskilly   encourages us to “Always Praise God” Referencing:

Job 1:20 (ESV)
20  Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped

Lauren writes:

“Praise God Always

Job, is a man who went through all kinds of trouble and trials, he had his family, livelihood and much more taken away from him. He was, what some may deem, “at rock bottom!” Imagine if you went through everything Job did.

How would that make you feel?

Angry? Depressed? Grief? Sad? Lonely? Anxious? Hurt? Rejected?

And I wouldn’t blame you! Job felt most of these too, well, he is human as well!

BUT despite all of this and how he felt about his situation, he still knew the Lord; Job, fell to the ground and worshipped.

But remember, He wants us to worship Him at all times and through all things; the good and the bad. Life is full of ups and downs, so it’s helpful to remember that trials and problems are to be expected. We are on a sinful earth, after all! But, the one thing in this world that is consistent, good, perfect, and awesome is God, the Father, the Creator, and His Son, Jesus, our Savior and He is worthy to be praised.

So, next time you are feeling, what we might deem to be, negative emotions, or are going through particular trials, I challenge you to throw on the worship music & praise the Lord.

Here’s a playlist I prepared earlier ‘Mood Boosting Worship Songs.’ (https://mindfulofchrist.net/mood-boosting-worship-songs/) Enjoy!

Blessings

Lauren x”

Thank You Lauren! “Praising the Lord” is the proper response to negative emotions and negative circumstances, even with serious hardships like the one's Job experienced.   When we place our focus on God and follow Him, praise will come spontaneously sometimes – but we may have to really put forth an effort to do it.  So do it! Praise and worshipping the Lord is the appropriate response for knowing the LORD, so always remember that God is bigger than all the situations in the world or even “causeless depression” and when we draw close to Him, He will lift us up and give us beauty for ashes and joy where there was only pain.  

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

Ezekiel 34:1-16 (ESV)
1  The word of the LORD came to me:
2  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?
3  You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.
4  The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.
5  So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts.
6  My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.
7  “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
8  As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep,
9  therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
10  Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.
11  “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.

12  As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
13  And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14  I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel.
15  I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD.
16  I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

Today’s verses fall under the fourteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Church, Communion of the Saints.

 14. God condemns and warns unfaithful shepherds.

Today’s verses are a warning to false teachers and a reminder to us that God came to save the lost by sending the Good Shepherd in Jesus Christ.   

This passage tells us that God sees everything and that He will repay those who don’t follow Him and abuse his sheep. It tells us of His great love to “leave the 99” to save the one lost sheep, that Jesus talked about in the gospels. 

Some people wrongly think that God was different in the Old Testament than He was in the New Testament but passages like this really show that God has always been the same.  He is holy, just, and loving and while He will condemn and warn the wicked, and will judge and punish them who die in their sins, He also calls all of us to repentance and seeks to save us because of His love for His sheep.

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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 are sharing from “God is in the Manger- Reflections on Advent and Christmas” – By Dietrich Bonhoeffer.   

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

God is in the Manger – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ADVENT WEEK ONE -  WAITING

DAY SEVEN

God’s Holy Present

Serve the opportune time.” The most profound matter will be revealed to us only when we consider that not only does the world have its time and its hours, but also that our own life has its time and its hour of God, and that behind these times of our lives traces of God become visible, that under our paths are the deepest shafts of eternity, and every step brings back a quiet echo from eternity. It is only a matter of understanding the deep, pure form of these times and representing them in our conduct of life. Then in the middle of our time we will also encounter God’s holy present. “My times are in your hand” (Ps. 31:15). Serve your times, God’s present in your life. God has sanctified your time. Every time, rightly understood, is immediate to God, and God wants us to be fully what we are.… Only those who stand with both feet on the earth, who are and remain totally children of earth, who undertake no hopeless attempts at flight to unreachable heights, who are content with what they have and hold on to it thankfully—only they have the full power of the humanity that serves the opportune time and thus eternity.… The Lord of the ages is God. The turning point of the ages is Christ. The right spirit of the ages is the Holy Spirit.

Dear parents … I don’t need to tell you how much I long for freedom and for you all. But over the decades you have provided for us such incomparably beautiful Christmases that my thankful remembrance of them is strong enough to light up one dark Christmas. Only such times can really reveal what it means to have a past and an inner heritage that is independent of chance and the changing of the times. The awareness of a spiritual tradition that reaches through the centuries gives one a certain feeling of security in the face of all transitory difficulties. I believe that those who know they possess such reserves of strength do not need to be ashamed even of softer feelings—which in my opinion are still among the better and nobler feelings of humankind—when remembrance of a good and rich past calls them forth. Such feelings will not overwhelm those who hold fast to the values that no one can take from them.

Letter to Bonhoeffer’s parents, written from

Tegel prison, December 17, 1943

For I hear the whispering of many—

terror all around!—

as they scheme together against me,

as they plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, O Lord;

I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hand;

deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

Let your face shine upon your servant;

save me in your steadfast love.

Psalm 31:13–16[1]

 

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

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My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  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)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, ed. Jana Riess, trans. O. C. Dean Jr., First edition. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 14–15.