Christianity 201

February 11, 2017

Truth and Honesty in Times of Depression

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:34 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Pastor Kevin Rogers has been one of the most frequent writers here since we began C201. In January, he ran a series of posts all containing the world Blue and words which rhyme with it.  In the introductory piece, Lonely and Blue he set up the series noting how depression peaks in winter (which it is here in the Northern hemisphere) and went on to write Blue, Take Your Cue before writing today’s piece:

BLUE, BE HONEST AND TRUE

Truth can be painful because it proclaims life’s situations as they are, and not as we hoped they would have been. An important step out of loneliness is to be honest with God and with others. If you are not being honest with yourself, there’s no way for you to be honest with God.

Sometimes we want to minimize our problems or live in denial. We may be too proud to admit that we have a problem.

There are many people who hide behind service to others. They will do things for all kinds of people, but leave their own needs unmet. Perhaps you find it harder to pray for yourself. This is a false belief that it is wrong to ask God or anyone else to take care of you. This lack of self-love will lead to isolation and self-loathing.

God will never belittle you for being honest with Him about your deep inner feelings. He really does love and care for you.

1 Peter 5:7

“Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.”

God’s ability to work in our lives is dependent upon our openness to Him and allowing Him to absorb our deep inner hurt. His power to heal our fears and pains deepens with our honesty. He will not take away the anxieties that we keep from Him.

Many do not make themselves vulnerable to God. They hold back in fear. They think they are being childish, rude or selfish if they bring their complaints to God. It’s as if we want to keep our relationship with God on a professional, adult level. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work out too well. We need to let God see the hurt and immaturity that grips us.

1 Peter 1:13

“Prepare your mind for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

People of fate believe that they are lonely because it is meant to be, but people of faith believe differently. They do not take loneliness sitting down. People with faith cry out to God and look for an answer that will help them break free of their cycle of frustration.

 

September 21, 2016

The Bible on Sleep

Amy Simpson is the author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission and Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry (both InterVarsity Press). She posted this a few days ago at her eponymous blog where it appeared with a much longer introduction documenting “The Sleep Business.” You’re encouraged to read it all by clicking the link below.

Let’s Get Serious about the Sacred Mystery of Sleep

sleeping-cat…Sleep is big business partly because we see it as disconnected from waking life. Most of us consider it a forced interruption in our otherwise productive lives. When we’re sleepy, it’s a tempting luxury we dare not indulge in until our work is done. Yet ironically, our sleep-abstinence undermines our work. And more ironically, our failure to value sleep as a critical part of what we do makes it elusive, and therefore even more valuable.

Perhaps the supposed separation between sleeping and waking hours is somewhat false. After all, both are critical parts of a whole life. Would we offer God the work we do when we’re awake and wall off our time in sleep as unworthy of his notice? Perhaps sleep is not simply a necessary activity that fuels the work God put us on earth to do. Perhaps it is part of the work God put us here to do.

God created us not only with a need for sleep, but with an incredible capacity for it—most of us need to spend at least one-third of our life in sleep. Is all this sleep really a waste? a luxury we can’t afford? a haven for the lazy? Or is it an expression of our humanity, an act of submission to God, a celebration of his creation? Might it be valuable in its own right?

The Bible frequently portrays sleep as a reflection of our relationship with God. Sleep is…

An act of trust:

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe” (Psalm 4:8).

An act of humility:

“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones” (Psalm 127:2).

A celebration of God’s blessing:

“You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the Lord is your security” (Proverbs 3:24-26).

A position of receptivity:

“After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,’ the angel said” (Matthew 2:13).

A point of distinction between us and God:

“He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps” (Psalm 121:3-4).

Sleep is not a state of non-being. It’s critical–we literally can’t live without it–and active. In sleep, we rest. We relax our muscles in forced paralysis. We dream and generate ideas. We solidify and retain memories. Our bodies restore and heal themselves and, among the young, grow. We reinforce our immunity. We give up control. We place ourselves in the hands of God for our safety and preservation. And we may do much more that we don’t yet know about–sleep is still a mysterious frontier of science.

While we may not fully understand our need for it, we can’t dismiss sleep. Instead we should view it differently. It’s a faithful act in a rhythmic life, honoring to our Creator, and part of what we were put on this planet to do. Sleep matters because, done well, it’s part of a whole life devoted to the one who never sleeps.

September 19, 2014

The Devil is in the Details

Earlier today, Kevin Rogers had an interesting article at his blog, The Orphan Age, which gives us a few things to think about. When do we place the blame on the Devil? Aren’t some things just the consequences of living in a fallen world?  To read this at source, click the title below. (We’ve used a lot of Kevin’s writing here over the years, so please send him some link love by clicking through.)

DIAGNOSING BEDEVILMENT
When it comes to understanding strange behavior there is plenty of controversial speculation about how the Devil is involved.

There may be two extremes in this regard—one that does not accept the reality of evil and the other that ascribes too much blame to dark forces.

I remember a man who worked with people with exceptional needs telling me that he thought a particular individual must be possessed to make such strange gestures. Out of his need to explain the unexplainable, he gave the Devil credit.

We see the word lunatic used in the King James Version of the bible to describe some people that Jesus encountered.

Matthew 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

Matthew 17:14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for oft-times he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

If we accept the reality of evil forces at work in the universe, we must ask how they affect humanity. The Scriptures do tell us about the Devil’s strategies. Jesus described himself as a shepherd who stayed at the gate of fold to protect his people from the Enemy.

John 10:
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Peter, who was once warned by Jesus that Satan wanted to sift him like wheat, later was known to say,

1 Peter 5:
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Peter knew first hand how the enemy could affect the mind with crippling fear. Peter knew how the mind could play tricks on you and how the devil could convince you of great falsehood.

It is not fair to say that a mentally ill person is possessed by the Devil. But, it is very possible that in the vulnerability of their condition, the Soul Enemy goes to work to bring a crushing load of accusation, shame and destruction. The debilitated mind is not in a state of sobriety where it can process thoughts in a healthy manner.


Today’s picture is completely unrelated, but when pastor and author Pete Wilson posted this picture this morning of the eggs his hens have been laying, I was reminded of the beauty and detail and variety that exists in creation that we often miss.

Beauty of Creation

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.