Depression: What it is and How to Fight Back

This is part 4 of the series “Invisible Illnesses.” To read the previous post, click here

depression post

The problem of depression and the Christian is complex. As with PTSD, we need to educate ourselves before rushing to errant judgement.

Depression can be split into two categories (although they frequently often overlap): there is depression caused by physical/chemical triggers and there is depression as a state of the mind. It may seem like splitting hairs, but it’s an important distinction. Continue reading

The Trouble with Comparing Pain.

photo-1464142961861-048e281a3608

The heart knows it’s own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy

Proverbs 14.10, ESV

 

Over a month ago, I read some comments on a Facebook post discussing the damaging effects of vaccines. As is common with all vaccine-related discussions, the comments were awash with both sides of the debate. There is always someone bashing “anti-vaxxers” as being anti-science/stupid/ignorant/hateful/child-abusers/fill-in-the-blank-with-an-insult. One comment read, “I would rather live with a child that has autism than to have my child die of whooping cough.”

Continue reading

Justice is weeping today.

lady justice
Photo from Wikipedia.

I don’t normally discuss politics or national news on this blog; I typically devote all my articles to learning about God and how to walk with Jesus. I hope you’ll indulge me, just this once, in a short commentary on current events.

Brilliant flashes of colorful fireworks set the faces of my children aglow beneath the darkening Texas sky. We reveled in our new-found Texas freedom and the love of country that swells in this region of the United States. I was thankful to live in this nation, in spite of the issues that plague us.

That was Monday.

Monday feels like an age ago.

This week has been traumatic for Lady Justice and her best friend, Wisdom. They weep unrestrainedly at the black events of the past few days.

On Tuesday, the FBI washed their hands in Pilate-like fashion of the blood of Americans murdered in a preventable, yet cowardly attack in Benghazi. Carelessness by a top official was treated as no great offense. It only resulted in sensitive information falling into the hands of our enemies. It only contributed to the death of a few Americans. It only compromised our national security. It could have been prevented, but, in the words of the offender, “what difference does it make?” My dear, it makes all the difference in the world when you ask for the privilege to lead people whose lives apparently matter very little to you.

The FBI admitted to the commission of a crime, but refused to take legal action. Why?! Only God knows. I’ll spare you my little theories, for that is all that they are.

Justice wept bitter tears.Wisdom cried aloud in anger.

Last night, the country witnessed a cowardly attack on law enforcement. Eleven officers were shot and five were killed.

Five people.

Five people are dead.

Five circles of influence shattered.

Five sets of families are left with a gaping hole.

Five oceans of tears.

Six people.

Six people with survivors guilt.

Six people who will suffer the life-changing agony of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Six families who have to relearn how to live with the one they love, because that person will be forever changed.

Put yourselves outside of your life and into the shoes of these people. Imagine how you would feel if that was your father, fiancee, or friend? These families are suffering, and all the news can talk about is how two police shootings sparked this deadly attack.

STOP THE PRESSES!!!!!!!!

How about we talk about compassion for those left behind? How about we send messages of support during their time of grief? How about we make sure there is funding for counseling for all those involved?

How about we talk about the trickle down effect of disregard for law? How about we realize that our country has given evil far too much license? How about we focus on our very broken (and corrupted) justice system? Instead of criticizing cops, what if we were to give them what they needed, which is leadership that upholds the law instead of undermining it (and administers appropriate discipline towards them when necessary)?

Our President responds with shock. How touching. Maybe if he hadn’t undermined the authority of law enforcement throughout his tenure, we would not be seeing the tragedy that unfolds before us today.

On Monday we celebrated independence. On Tuesday, the powers that be rendered our independence to be unmerited. On Thursday, we experience tragedy.

There is a new kind of tyranny at work today, and our country is enslaved by it—the tyranny of the entitled. They demand everything without the willingness to give anything. They overturn justice. They call evil good and good evil. Nothing is ever enough.

The men and women who stand in the fray, protecting us from things we can barely imagine, are the ones being vilified. The criminals who disregard justice, on the other hand, are exalted as paragons of virtue. Many good men and women are walking away from these jobs as protectors because they do not feel the sacrifice is worth it any longer. What we will get in their place is what many think already have—a corrupt, gestapo-like force.

The leaders of our country consider themselves above the law, even though they are supposed to be beneath it, upholding it. When we allow those in power to flagrantly disregard truth and justice, the citizenry will follow suit.

God, who is righteous and just, sees all these things. He will ensure that, one way or another, Justice has her day. We may never see that day while we live on this earth, but we have confidence that He will carry it out in His own good time.

 

Thanks be to God that we are just passing through and belong to a kingdom that cannot be shaken. This week has been another reminder of the fragility of governments and of life. Put your trust in God.

Take time today to pray for the families of the fallen. They need and deserve our compassion.

Coming glory (Day 6 of the #encourage marathon)

image

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

~ ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s Day 6 of our 26-day #Encourage Marathon! (You can read yesterday’s post here.)

Here are the previous 5 days we’ve covered so far:

Not Destroyed – Day 1

Do not lose heart – Day 2

More than Conquerors – Day 3

Joy will come – Day 4

Renewed Strength – Day 5

Someone out there is on their knees, worn out with suffering. It might even be you.

Grief.

Loss.

Betrayal.

Rejection.

Humiliation.

Abuse.

Persecution.

Death.

Sickness.

Starvation.

Tyranny.

War.

Have you experienced any of the above? Welcome to the world of harsh reality. Sometimes it feels as though we were born to experience trouble (hence the pursuit of excessive pleasure). The race is long. That finish line is barely a dot on the horizon (if we can see it at all!).

If you ask a mother about childbirth, they will tell you that it felt as though the excruciating pain of labor would never end. And yet, when they look back, the exhaustive labor seems like a little thing compared with the great joy of nestling their precious newborn. Joy, awe, and delight outshine the pain, making it a mere memory.

Like a woman in labor, so is our labor of life. As Paul says in our verse today, this suffering does not compare with what waits for us. When we finally see Jesus—the one whom we love and who has loved us from the beginning—all this will be overshadowed by the light of His presence.

I often think of it in the way Gandalf described it to Pippin in The Lord of the Rings:

PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.

GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.

GANDALF: No, no it isn’t.

I think of Jesus in all his glory like that swift sunrise, and heaven that far green country, teeming with beauty. I am looking forward to seeing it. If I can just remember that, it’ll make all of this more bearable.

Something better and far more glorious is waiting for us, we just have to keep running.


I hope you’ll continue to join me on FacebookTwitter and here at Elihu’s Corner for this marathon. Share this verse on your Twitter feed or Facebook page (#encourage). Take time today to copy down this verse for yourself. Send an email or text to someone you know who would benefit from this encouragement.

[If you click on the link in the above passage, it will take you to BibleGateway.com. From here, you can click a share link which allows you to share directly to Twitter, Facebook or send an email.]

If you missed the original post listing all 26 passages, click here to download the PDF list.

Remember the widowed… [The Effective Prayer 8.31.15]

This post is part of a weekly series on Effective Prayer.cafe-569349_1920

They were quite a pair
The way that love should be
They still held hands
For all the world to see
She’s thankful that she had him all those years
But she still has days she can’t hold back the tears

She misses their Monday night bowling league
When they’d wear their matching shirts
She misses their Wednesday night dinner out
As soon as he got home from work
Saturday morning sleeping late
Holding each other close
But she misses him on Sunday the most

She sits alone on that same old pew again
His tenor voice still echoes now and then
It brings back all those memories of him there by her side
What she’d give for one more Sunday drive

She misses their Monday night bowling league
When they’d wear their matching shirts
She misses their Wednesday night dinner out
As soon as he got home from work
Saturday morning sleeping late
Holding each other close
But she misses him on Sunday the most
But she misses him on Sunday the most

~Diamond Rio, She Misses Him On Sunday The Most

You see them often: the elderly man sitting on a pew alone; the elderly woman who walks in and out unnoticed; the young woman juggling kids, still wearing black; the middle-aged man with the vacant, overwhelmed stare trying to help his elementary-aged children. They have to go home to an empty bed or quiet house. In the case of the elderly, their income is fixed, many of their dearest friends have passed on and they are engulfed by loneliness. In the case of the young mother or father, they are not only grappling with unexpected loss, but they are facing a future of uncertainty and the daunting task of raising children on their own.

At times, people walk hesitantly towards them, unsure what words to use and then keep on walking past to avoid discomfort.

They are the widowed.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

~ James 1:27, ESV

The Lord knows that there are people who need extra help. He has always made provision for those bereft of care. The New Testament has several scriptures regarding widows and the church.

In Acts 6, men were appointed to make sure that the widows in the church would get their daily portion of food, because they had been neglected up to that point.

In Acts 9, a woman named Tabitha cared for the widows; when she died they were deeply grieved and Peter raised her from the dead.

In 1 Timothy 5, Paul gives instructions for the church to care for widows who are in need and do not have family to help them.

Imagine if you were in the shoes of the widowed (maybe you are that person). It’s daunting!

I came very near to that point two years ago when I learned my spouse had been in a deadly situation. We had three children under the age of six that day, and I very nearly became their sole caretaker. It’s a frightening prospect to be struck with grief and raising children solo. Incidents like these give you a new appreciation for military spouses with husbands/wives overseas and cop’s spouses who never know from day-to-day if their husband or wife will make it home from work.

Imagine being an elderly man or woman who has been married anywhere from forty to sixty years. Suddenly, you have nobody in bed next to you when you wake up. The house is quiet. Everything you used to do with that person, you now do alone. Just thinking about that prospect makes my heart ache!

We need to wake up to the needs of those around us who are bereft of their spouses. They need our prayers, but they also need our help.

  • Ask to help them go shopping once a week.
  • Offer to take them to lunch and visit with them every so often.
  • Offer to bring them to group events.
  • Look for them on Sundays and make a point of talking with them each week.

They need us—their brothers and sisters in Christ—to show them love and compassion. I will warn you, it may not always be taken warmly or gratefully. I offered to help an elderly lady once shortly after she’d lost her husband and she said, “oh yes, you are doing what James said, ‘take care of the widows and orphans'” It was said sarcastically. Your care and concern will not always be received well, but we need to make the effort just the same. I have to admit that after being pushed away so bitterly, I was more hesitant to approach anyone who was widowed. Keep on trying; remember that they are hurting and people handle their pain differently.

Pray for them.

I write these Effective Prayer posts as an encouragement to myself and to you. I tend to be very self-focused in my prayers (praying for my needs and the needs of immediate family) and I truly believe that I need to be more outwardly focused on the needs of others, not only in my activities, but my prayers.

Here are some suggestions to help focus your prayer:

Pray for them to be comforted.

This will not happen overnight. They pain will be with them for years; it may never fully dissipate. They need our prayers, and our presence.

Pray for them to have friendship.

Don’t we all need friends? Pray that the Lord will send them solid friends who will not take advantage of them (this could be you!).

Pray for them to lean on the Lord.

Where should we always go in our need? Too often we seek outside comfort in a bottle, or medication, or in other dangerous places. Pray that they will seek healthy comfort from God and be fulfilled.

Pray for their protection.

Elderly people are particularly prone to being taken advantage of. They need help, contract work etcetera and people are more than happy to do things half way and ask for double the payment, or steal from them when they aren’t looking. Pray that the Lord will protect them.

Younger widows/widowers could marry another person who is only seeking to rob them of their money or take advantage of their young children. They need protection, especially in their state of grief.

Pray for and encourage these individuals in their time of pain and vulnerability. They need the Lord and they need our help.

The Overlooked Truth About Depression and Faith.

depression post

Did I just hear that correctly?

Yes. I did.

It was the phrase, “Christians shouldn’t ever be depressed.”

Ouch.

I sat gloomily, feeling the weight of the statement and sinking deeper into the pit that was my depression.

I chewed on that statement for weeks, wondering if I wasn’t right with God. I debated in my own mind about whether my depression was sin, trying to decide if I had allowed my weakness to conquer me.

The problem of depression and the Christian is complex, and I address it in this post because I am confident there are many who have asked themselves the same question.

I have yet to find a verse in the Bible that reads, “Thou shalt not be depressed.” There is an abundance of verses that tell us to rejoice always and to count it joy when we are persecuted or fall into trial.

Then, there is the book of Psalms, the book of Lamentations, the book of Job, the book of Ecclesiastes, the verses about being grieved by various trials, the verses about weeping enduring for a night and joy coming in the morning, verses that tell us to be firm and endure, and verses about going to the Lord for refuge.

I pray that what I write here is helpful to anyone battling this problem.

Depression can be split into two categories (although they often overlap and work together): there is depression caused by physical/chemical triggers and there is depression as a state of the mind. It may seem like splitting hairs, but it’s an important distinction.

1) The physical causes of depression.

Depression is categorized as a mental illness along with PTSD, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

Mental processes are impalpable. Because we don’t see our mind working and processing (like a computer) there is a tendency to forget that a great deal of this intangible process comes from the tangible part of our body called “the brain” and is heavily influenced by our hormones. Our brain is a functioning organ like our heart, and as such is prone to malfunction. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are dysfunctions in the brain. These diseases afflict elderly Christians. Are they no longer right with God because their brain is malfunctioning?

Over four years ago, a very dear friend of mine introduced me to the Weston A Price Foundation. Dr. Price was a dentist in the 1920s that was curious as to why so many of his patients had dental deformities. Fortunately for us, the man asked solid questions and did considerable hands-on research. He found isolated societies from different places in the world—Switzerland, Alaska, Africa, the Outer Hebrides etc.—whose inhabitants did not eat modern foods (i.e. white sugar, white flour, canned goods). Instead, they ate the foods available to them. Organ meats, fermented foods, fresh raw milk from grass-fed cows, fresh seasonal vegetables, bugs (in occasional places), fish oil, fat and grains that were sprouted or fermented. They did not suffer from tuberculosis (the disease of the day), their babies were round and happy, they had broad faces and—in spite of having no dentists—they often had perfectly straight teeth and little to no dental decay. They possessed a high level of optimism and had generally cheerful dispositions.

As soon as roads were built that connected these societies to the modern world and the displacing foods were brought into those communities, the following generation of children were born with narrower facial structure and suffered dental deformities, tuberculosis and, yes, depression.

Without getting overly technical, my understanding is that a narrower facial structure can affect the formation of the brain, which in turn affects the hypothalamus and the lymphatic system impacting hormone production and immune system function. It isn’t just a dental issue or a physical issue—it’s a mental issue.

In effect, the way our parents ate when we were in the womb, affected our development in utero; the way we ate as babies and developing children affected our facial structure, which in turn impacted our brain development. In essence, the reason depression is so much higher today than 50 or 60 years ago can be traced to poor nutrition! Check out the comparative pictures in the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price.

If you are suffering from clinical depression, it goes beyond a “state of mind” or “attitude.” It is highly likely that you may be dealing with a chemical or hormonal imbalance.

Consider that for a moment.

If you were to be diagnosed with cancer, would that make you less of a Christian? Would God see you as a sinner because you suffer from a physical malady not brought on by conscious choice? Again, with Alzheimers and Dementia—are they less Christian than the elderly who still have full possession of their faculties?

What did Jesus have to say about that?

In John 9, Jesus and his disciples came upon a man who had been blind from birth. The blindness didn’t come because he was playing with matches and gunpowder. His parents didn’t beat him senseless or use illicit drugs that caused blindness. The man had been born with his blindness—a physical deformity.

Jesus’ disciples asked him the age-old question: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

What did Jesus answer? 

“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Have you ever stopped to consider that your physical battle with depression might be an opportunity for God to be glorified?

I have read it, heard it and felt it implied that people who are depressed just need to “get over it” or “snap out of it.” For the Christian suffering from depression, being told that we should “get over it” and be paragons of joy can be even more discouraging because it amplifies existing feelings of inadequacy and weakness.

What did Paul say about his weakness? He called it his “thorn in the flesh.”

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

~2 Corinthians 12.7-10

Look at your depression as an opportunity for God to manifest His strength. You may not feel like you can face the day. Your present circumstance and the way you feel at this moment may be so overwhelming you can barely get out of bed each day.

Allow God to be your strength when you have none.

Allow God to give you joy when you feel none.

Allow God to lift you up when the burden feels too heavy.

Do not allow your physical struggle with depression to define you.

Allow God to transform you.

If you live your life each and every day, fighting to find something to give thanks for, actively seeking for the good that can be found, working to heal the physical problems of depression and handing over the uncontrollable and overwhelming emotions to God when they rise up, just think what a difference that can make to your approach to life. If someone discovers that you are doing all that while battling depression, just imagine what a faith-building impact that can have!

One person’s obedience + God’s power = Victory.

A caution: Depression is no joke. It takes more than simply your own strength of will to overcome. Because it is a physical issue, there are steps that must be taken to deal with it. I personally do not advocate SSRIs, but that is a decision that you should make for yourself after doing research and consulting with trustworthy health professionals. Depression can lead to suicide, alcoholism and drug abuse. Do not hesitate to seek help.

My fellow blogger, Sean Croxton at Underground Wellness did a whole series called The Depression Sessions in which he conducted interviews with a broad range of health professionals addressing the problems of SSRIs and suggesting natural approaches to depression. You can check it out here. He also has these podcasts that might be helpful:

Furthermore, some lifestyle changes may be in order. Less sugar in the diet, lower carbohydrate intake, more magnesium and an increase in Vitamin D (just to name a few) are small changes that have been shown to counter depression in a big way.

2) The “Woe-is-Me” mentality.

There is a character in the fiction of A.A. Milne (popularized by Disney) named Eeyore. Eeyore is a gloomy donkey who lives in the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie the Pooh and friends. His voice always carries the “I’m down in the dumps” tone. On Eeyore’s Birthday, Pooh discovers that Eeyore is gloomier than usual, only to find out that it’s Eeyore’s birthday and nobody has remembered.

Can’t you see? Look at all the presents I have had.” He waved a foot from side to side. “Look at the birthday cake. Candles and pink sugar.”

Pooh looked–first to the right and then to the left.

“Presents?” said Pooh. “Birthday cake?” said Pooh. “Where?”

“Can’t you see them?”

“No,” said Pooh.

“Neither can I,” said Eeyore.

Pooh is moved with pity and rounds up his friends to get presents for Eeyore. It all turns out well… it is a children’s story after all. But the fact is, Eeyore is always gloomy. Things could be going great and he would still find something to mope about.

His outlook is pessimistic. Life holds little joy for him.

His gloominess is caused by the way he has his mind set.

Here is where I split the hairs.

There are definite physical and chemical causes to depression, but there is also an attitude of depression. What I mean by that is some people have trained themselves (often unwittingly) to have a depressed outlook on life. They set their mind on the negative and sad. It isn’t a difficult task considering all the suffering around us.

The clinically depressed often have greater trouble with this (this is where physical and attitude can run together) because they are already fighting the uncontrollable feelings brought on by the physical issues mentioned earlier. They have to fight harder than the average bear to set their mind firmly on good things.

This is the critical point: they must fight. Often, they need help. They have to seek counseling, naturopathy, homeopathy and/or medication in order to reach that point where they can mentally choose to stamp on those negative emotions and feelings.

For the past 20 years (maybe more), our society has slipped into this mindset: “I have this problem therefore I can’t help but be this way. It’s my parents’ fault, my hormones’ fault, and my job’s fault it’s got to be someone else’s fault. Because of all these problems, I can’t do things any differently. Just accept me the way I am because there is no way I can change.”

It’s time we stop thinking like that.

I’m not telling you simply to “get over it.” Believe me, that mindset does not help anybody. (It has certainly never done anything but make me feel worse!) What I am telling you is that you have to do something about it. Don’t wallow in it, look for a way out of it.

We’ve been watching the old A-Team show lately. Yes, it’s a hokey show, but nearly always good for a laugh. In pretty much every episode, they find themselves in some nearly impossible situation and they have to engineer their way out. B.A. (played by Mr. T) ends up doing some welding, soldering or hammering, turning old jalopies into armored vehicles and barns into booby traps and inevitably they wriggle out of their danger with their cleverly devised solution.

What most people see as junk and scrap, they see as potential tools for success.

Think of the depression mindset as your nearly impossible situation.

How can you engineer your way out? How can you look at this from a new angle?

1) For starters, who is on your side?

It’s not a trick question.

Ok, I’ll give you a hint: The One who created the brain and body of the human being.

That’s right! God.

How do you ask God to help you? By praying. Every time those feelings and thoughts rise up and threaten to immobilize you, ask God to help you overcome those feelings. Don’t let them have dominion over your mind.

2) What other tools do you have on hand?

The Sword of the Spirit aka The Word of God aka the Bible!

How often do you use that tool? If it’s just sitting in your toolbox collecting dust, it’s time to pull it out, dust it off and start using it. How are you supposed to get your mind off all the negative things in this life if you aren’t filling it with the positive?

Consider this passage in Hebrews:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

Hebrews 4.12-16

The Word of God can help us train our minds and hearts to discern what is rational and irrational in our thoughts and feelings. I have had days where, for no apparent circumstantial reason, I feel depressed, heavy, gloomy, and moody. I can actually recognize the irrationality of my feelings and I attack it vigorously. Again, this came with help and counseling. I tell my spouse, “I’m not feeling right, I feel heavy, I need you to bear with me and help me through it.” I pray minute by minute about it. I fight it. I dig deeply into God’s Word… especially the Psalms. It takes time to recognize the gloom for what it is, but it can be done. I also make sure I watch my food intake closely on those days, try to do some exercise if there’s time and intensely guard what I say. I am not always successful… I am human after all… but it has been an illuminating experience. I didn’t get to this point without a lot of assistance. I used counseling, acupuncture, homeopathy, dietary changes, exercise and healthy activity. It was gradual, but highly effective for me.

3) Training.

Like anything in a Christian life, godly characteristics do not come naturally. They take training and practice. Trust takes training. Patience takes training. Joy comes with time and training.

When dark, pessimistic thoughts come on, do you stew and brood about them? What does the Bible advise?

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4.8-9

You have to practice seeing the negative for what it is and then finding the positive and resting there. If you see something bad, ask yourself, how would God see this?

Take for example the Supreme Court decision that has dismayed so many of us. Many of us feel some degree of dismay, righteous anger and fear. We fear coming persecution, imprisonment, job loss and other such things.

What is a positive angle to this? How can we keep from being gloomy about the state of the Union?

  • This World is not our permanent home. We long for a heavenly country. This incident is an excellent reminder that all that we see is temporal, not permanent. Thank you Lord for stirring my desire for heaven!
  • There is an opportunity to talk to people about the Word of God. I know that most people don’t want to hear what we have to say, but we should be speaking anyway. I have been called stupid on more than one occasion, but it’s been an opportunity to stand up for the Word of God and demonstrate that a Christian can argue their faith lovingly and respectfully.

4) What other helps are available?

Other Christians who have suffered from depression may have some invaluable insights on counselors or treatments that have helped them. Counselors (especially those with a Christian mindset) can be invaluable helpers. Do not brush aside counseling. So many people feel that they are too good for it. Don’t let your pride be your downfall. Get a counselor to help you train your mind and address the physical problems with depression if they exist.

Don’t forget the websites and podcasts that I mentioned above. They could be very helpful for you. I will be attending the Weston A Price Conference in Anaheim this November and if you are interested in making dietary changes to help with depression or other illnesses, this may be the stop for you! Sally Fallon, the president, does an excellent presentation every year on the work of Dr. Price and it is illuminating!

My very dear friends, do not allow someone’s misguided or uninformed statements plunge you into a deeper depression. The Lord knows our every weakness. Sometimes our depression is purely attitude, more often than not it’s physical, and even more often, it’s a combination of the two. If you are battling depression today, please know that there is hope and there are plenty of us who want to help!

If you have overcome depression in the past or know of someone who has, please share that story to inspire hope for those who are feeling hopeless.

The Effective Prayer 5.25.15 – Families of the Fallen

image

Each week, we turn our focus to praying for a specific person or group of people.

If you missed the original post on effective prayer, read it here.

Effective prayer is a learned habit requiring discipline and diligence. To that end, I am encouraging you to write down the people you are praying for. Part of building and maintaining habits is to have reminders and tracking tools. Making a list isn’t self-righteous or sacreligious. It is a tool. We devote time to counting calories, monitoring money, checking Facebook, making to-do lists–is prayer of lesser importance?

For other posts regarding prayer, click on “prayer” in the categories tab.


Focus for this week: Families of the Fallen

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

~John‬ ‭15‬:‭13‬ NKJV

6 years ago, I got a phone call from a friend and brother in Christ. What he told me absolutely shocked me: one of the members of our church had been killed in Iraq—on Memorial Day. His convoy had been hit by an IED. He was due to be home and retired in just a couple weeks. Without warning, he was gone.

We raced over to the coast to be with his family. My heart grieved for them. His wife, one of the most joyful and radiant people I know, was sobbing, heartbroken. Through tears she told us about how he had gone over there to help rebuild. They’d had plans to celebrate his retirement upon his return. Now, suddenly and unexpectedly, he was gone. He also left behind three young adult children. They too, were in shock and grief. No words of comfort and no amount of hugs could ever fill the chasm so violently created in their lives.

He died serving. Now he is safe in the arms of Jesus where no IED, no evil fanatic and no other pain can touch him. We draw comfort from the knowledge that he is with the Lord.

His sacrifice brings into sharp perspective the immensity of Christ’s sacrifice. My friend and brother in Christ along with millions of other Americans have died to preserve our freedom, and to secure freedom for others enslaved by cruelty, oppression and tyranny.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God allowed Himself to be tortured and killed in a very cruel and violent way. He didn’t have to die. He could have chosen to walk away. But He did not.

He died serving.

He died to secure our freedom from eternal death.

He died so that we might live.

Every week, we observe His death when we take the Lord’s Supper. We remember.

Today, millions of Americans are remembering the people who died serving our country. But what of the loved ones left behind? They have lost someone very important to them. They have sacrificed as well.

My friends have grown even closer together in the wake of their loss. They are there for one another. They have drawn comfort from the Lord. Today, they remembered his death. 6 years to the day. They have picked up and continued to live. They honor his memory every day as they live full, godly lives. They are amazing people.

In your prayers this week, please pray for those, like my dear friends, who have lost family and friends serving the country. I think sometimes the families are forgotten, but they should not be. They live with their sacrifice.

Pray for the Lord to give them comfort in the way that only He can.

Pray that He will renew their strength so that they can keep on going.

Pray that they will turn to God in their times of deep grieving and sorrow.

Lastly, offer thanks to God for brave men and women who are willing to serve others to the end. What would the world be like without people like them?

The effective prayer of a righteous person avails much. Let us pray together to great effect this week.

In loving memory of Duane G. Wolfe.