Are you independent?

IndependantTogetherIn our society, especially American society, we are encouraged by movies and family many times from childhood to be independent. Don’t depend upon anyone. Do it yourself or learn how to do it yourself so you won’t depend on someone else. All of this is good advice up to a point. But what do you do when life throws a wrench into your life, like a death in the family or a disease that isn’t easy to cure or live with? Being independent and on your own doesn’t seem like such a good idea at this point, does it?

Depression is also one of those “monkey-wrenches” which can throw you for a real loop! Man or woman, married or not, military, police, or firefighter or just coming out of your teen years, depression doesn’t discriminate at all! In fact, peer pressure and job stress or stress from a death or dying family member just makes it more intense.

I just performed a graveside service for a good friend and family member recently. It was hard, but God provided the strength to get through it. My point in writing this today is not to recount that experience but to focus on how people, men specifically, handle their independence. We usually have friends while going through elementary and high school and while in college. But, when college is over we usually get down to the business of life. Jobs, maybe marriage and children, although sometimes not in that order, particularly in today’s so-called “modern” age.

The problem facing men today is that many of us grew up without a strong father figure in our lives. Some of us didn’t have a father around at all. Some of us only had a grandfather and he tried to do the best he could, but he was afraid of possibly running us away if he got too strict with our upbringing. Some people say that this isn’t really a problem, but if you look at the population of our prison systems and talk to many of them, I think you would find that most, if not all, had no true father figure in their lives.

Also being independent as we are taught to be tends to cause us to push through life without a close friend. We don’t make friends as men, we make acquaintances. People that we know at work, but not outside of work. I mean, do you know a friend’s phone number that you could call if you needed to talk? Would you actually call them if you do know their number?

This is the problem which men face in our world today. Women tend to make friends very easily by comparison. Scientists say that it is because of evolution. I say it is because women share the job of raising children all the way back to the time of Eve, when she had daughters to help her. Later, as the population grew, the women of the village would gather to keep up with the children and wash clothes and other chores which needed to be done. They got to know each other.

Men only gather when it is time to hunt or to defend the village from marauders, or some other “manly” job such as that. When the hunt is over or the fire is put out, we tend to break up and go our separate ways. Living life alone. If we don’t have a family, that can be deadly. Seek out friendships with other men. Start a Bible study at church or in your home with them men of the church. Have a breakfast or a BBQ with some friends. Get to know some of the men who live around you. Because…you never know when you might need their help or they might need yours.

There will be another post on this topic on thelivingmessage.com later so as they say on TV, stay tuned.

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Understanding

I have been told that I don’t have any understanding about addiction. I’ll own that because I don’t want any understanding about it, at least not from the addiction and use of it!

I apologize to those who read my previous post about an accidental overdose that I experienced because I wasn’t careful about what I was doing. Yes, it was an accident. I didn’t do it to try out the addictive nature of opiates like hydrocodone.

While I was “feeling the effects” of it, a voice in my mind was telling me to try it again. I remember that very clearly but I also remember that feeling of not being in control, not being myself and feeling….well I am not sure what I was feeling, but it felt good for a while. The next day I was sick and nauseous all day, my eyes had pinpoint pupils, even the smell of food didn’t smell good to me.

Why am I writing this? Because, I am not judging anyone who is addicted to any kind of drug, but there is God Who can help in all types of addiction. Note, I didn’t say “a” God, but God Himself! Don’t pay attention to those who look down on your trouble, if they can’t get out of their own pew and get to know you and why things are happening or have happened to you, find another church! There are many who will help and can understand because, even though there are few who practice what Jesus taught us they do exist.

Thank you for telling me that I don’t know what I am talking about, at least that makes me feel like someone read my post for a change. I had intended to get rid of this blog, but maybe some part of it may help, if not then visit http://thelivingmessage.com, maybe some of what I put up there will give you some encouragement.

Barriers and walls

Many times in your life, whether you are a Christian or not, you will come up against walls. Some of them are built by pain, some of them are built by envy or jealousy, some of them are built by a disease which causes you pain in a very deep emotional way. We all have to scale these walls and barriers at some point, some of them are hard to climb because they are so big, but they can be torn down.

Oh, we can’t do this by ourselves though, regardless of what counselors and some doctors may tell you. Walls, whether built by emotions, disease, death, jealousy, racism, or hatred, can only be broken down by God’s work in your heart and in your life. Day by day, walking with Him and seeking His wisdom and strength by which we can take the walls down brick by brick is the only way.

It is not a quick process and it isn’t easy either, especially when you have been able to take care of yourself in other situations in your life. What makes this so difficult or any different? It’s because of what the walls and barriers are made from. The ones which are so difficult are made from emotions like fear, anger, resentment, racism, hate, envy and greed. There are others, but you get the point. These walls keep out those who care about you, whether it is God or friends and family!

Each of us feels the effect of these barriers in some way or another, sometimes the effect on us is that which causes a disease or pain. Emotions can do this and the ones which hurt the most usually do the most damage. It may take a little time before you feel the effects of it, but until it is resolved in some way, it will only get worse over time. In particular, anger and hatred which are unresolved or unforgiven will give you ulcers and possibly high blood pressure and they will make other conditions worse. Do the research yourself if you don’t believe me, but I am not pulling your leg.

Barriers and walls made from emotional bricks can cause more hurt and pain than many people realize. It doesn’t have to be anger or hatred which cause these walls, it can be envy, or any of a number of other emotions which I named earlier. All of them get in the way of relationships, especially your relationship with God. Seek His help in resolving these walls, breaking them down to the point where you can still have a relationship with Him daily. He can do it but He wants to do it with you!

I had these problems for a very long time, and at times they still pop up and blur my “spiritual vision” in a way. I usually sit down and talk with God about it as soon as I realize what is happening, and it soon resolves itself or God helps me to resolve it. Give it a try, ask God to help you because He is bigger than any problem or wall that may be in your life and He can help you bring it down.

Still in denial…

Many times, those of us who feel overwhelmed and depressed are in denial about the reason for the way we feel. It could be something which happened yesterday or last month, but we won’t admit it. It could be something which happened to us last year or even years ago which just comes to the surface when we hear a song or watch a TV show. There are many triggers which bring to mind things that we want to forget, things which we thought that we had dealt with but…we really haven’t.

We just pushed the memory into a corner or a closet and shut the door, hoping that it wouldn’t come out again in the near future. But…something or maybe nothing triggers that memory and all of it rushes out like a flood and we have to deal with it all over again.

I know that many times I usually have some advice about how to avoid these kinds of problems, but in this instance there is no fix or cure. Yes, giving your heart to Jesus does help because you can pray to Him and ask for His strength to get through it but the memory and the depression and pain from it won’t really go away. You will be able to bear it more gracefully and with strength that you didn’t have before but it will still come back.

That being said, Jesus is not the One responsible for bringing old hurts and memories to your recall, especially ones which cause pain and depression. Satan and his cohorts do that and they are very good at it. They have had many years of practice. The good news about this is that you don’t have to live with it alone! Jesus is there with you, if you have asked Him to come into your heart. He will never leave you!

Denial is something that all of us suffer with because we don’t think we need help with certain thing or we don’t consider an old hurt or pain from our past to be significant. But, there are days that cause the memories and feelings to rush back into your life and unless you have a lot of family who understands, you will need Jesus to get you through this.

God loves you and He never intended for us to have the issues which we have to deal with today. The rebellion, which is what happened in the Garden, is what started all of this. One act of doing something that the Father told you not to do, caused the pain and suffering and all of the cruelty in the world. Our human nature wasn’t made that way in the beginning, but by doing it in spite of the command not to, we told God that we will do it our way.

Humanity’s way has not worked out so well in the past few hundred or thousand years. We have made mistakes, big mistakes. We have caused a lot of suffering in places where we shouldn’t have been. In the name of one religion or another, we have killed and murdered people for beliefs which didn’t follow the “church” at the time. We, as in humanity, have done some horrific things in the name of religion, even the Christian religion in the Dark ages following the dictates of men who were in charge has killed and murdered people. All of this has broken the heart of God, because many times the Inquisition, the Crusades, the witch hunts and even the burning of believers who believed differently from accepted doctrine, all of this was done under the guise of serving God.

The church doesn’t want these to come to light because then our religion is no different from the one which is doing the same thing in the Middle East today! There is evidence of course, written and archived, but the thing is many of those saints who were killed for their belief will sit in judgement of those who burned them one day. Unless their killers repented and turned from those things, becoming heretics themselves, they will be judged and sentenced to the lake of fire at the White Throne judgement.

Being in denial doesn’t get rid of the problem. Just as sweeping dust under the rug doesn’t get rid of it either. Giving your life and your heart to Jesus will change your life forever and those problems which creep up on you will be easier to bear with Jesus at your side.

Fear, anxiety and depression

These are the “monsters” which young people today have to deal with. But, they aren’t alone. You aren’t alone because many of us older folk also suffer with these same demons, monsters, feelings, whatever you want to call them! We may “deal” with them in different ways from how you handle them, but we do handle them. But, sometimes they are victorious against us too.

I am coming to you as one who has battled with depression and anxiety. I have had feelings which drove me to seek to end my life, but I sought out Jesus and my faith in Him! Even though my “demons” tried to tell me that I wasn’t worthy of His love, I wasn’t good enough to be His child. They would tell me in dreams and in what I call “mind voices” that I should just stop trying to be something that I am not. Give up trying to bring a revival to this community and accept that they don’t want one!

Last summer, I was going through this and I found that by reading the Psalms and praying about my depression every day I was able to find a little more strength every day. Just enough to get me through that day, then do it again tomorrow and the next day until I came out of that “funk” and felt that I was able to raise my head up without feeling that it was just too much to do!

God hasn’t given up on you and you shouldn’t listen to those words which Satan is putting in your mind and your heart! They are lies from Satan and that is all that they are! God LOVES you dearly and compassionately! He hasn’t given up on you and you should not give up on this life that He gave you to live!! Why do I say this? Because it is true and because He does have a purpose for you and your life! I don’t know what your purpose is, but I’d bet that it is something that we haven’t thought of yet!

He made you special for one purpose and that was to be a witness to others who have been or will be in this position tomorrow or maybe a few weeks or months down the road. The fact is that you are the only person who can help someone else in this condition or having these problems! That is your calling!

You may be a singer or a dancer or a basketball player, but to God you are His ambassador to those people who are feeling the same fears and problems that you had until you decided to cling to the only Physician who can help and that is Jesus! Seek Him out in your hurt and your fears and anxiety because He was rejected by all of His countrymen, I think that He could understand your pain. The only ones who didn’t reject Him were His disciples and they numbered only 11 after He was risen.

He can give you the strength that you need to get through the rest of today and tomorrow and the next day…if you will let Him come in and share your life and your heart. You will be a new creation and old ways will pass away because you are changed.

I am feeling down again…

I know that this is supposed to be a site for uplifting posts and helpful articles but I also began this journey while I was depressed last year. Well, it is beginning again. I have been praying about this and reading my Bible, especially the Psalms, every day and that helps but sometimes Satan just hits a little bit harder. I know, some of you may not even believe that he exists in our world, but I assure you that he is here and his helpers, powers, demons, whatever you want to call them are here too.

All of them hate us because we are loved by God and we have been created in His Image. Because of those two things, we have legions of demons and principalities which are bound and determined to stop us from being or becoming Christians, especially bold, praying Christians! Those of us who read and study our Bibles and pray are the ones that get hit with diseases and disabilities many times and if it isn’t us, then it is our family members who get them. Anything to distract us from doing God’s work, like I am doing right here.

I don’t know how much longer my hands will work to do this, so I am trying to keep going as long as possible. Please pray for me and my health and my family’s health as well. Prayer does more than most people realize and it really is felt by those who are being prayed for. Thank you in advance.

Our world and our culture is under attack by Satan’s forces. They can’t be seen or felt, except when they cause a problem in your health or your body or even in the area where you live. But, they are behind the violence and gangs and drugs and all other sorts of evil in our world, so be aware that mankind is evil but with the assistance of Satan it multiplies ten fold or more.

We need as many people as possible praying for peace and for wisdom in the days and weeks ahead. Not just for us individually, but for our governments and those who are in offices of importance, like our President. Yes, I have heard that there are some who hope that he will be killed overseas, but God placed him where he is so ask God to open his eyes and prick his heart to turn to Him for guidance and wisdom during this dark time.

God will get me through this time, no matter what happens. But, we need to be praying for our neighbors, our friends, and our co-workers and each other. Study God’s Word and pray that you will gain His wisdom from it so that your life and your decisions will be guided by Him in the coming days. Life itself is going to be tough and we need to keep our spirits filled with His Word and wisdom so that we will see Him when He comes in the clouds.

A life well lived

What can you say about someone’s life when it comes to an end. If they have lived a long life, you can say that they have truly had a great run of it in some respects. If they are not so lucky and they have come to the end by some strange accident or even something which is incurable at a young age, then you think, “Man, they died so young? What happened?” A very strange way to begin a post about living successful, I know, but sometimes it just has to be talked about.

Life is funny that way. You get to live a long time and have a life that is almost like having a “Midas touch” where everything or almost everything just works. Then, there are some of us, the normal people, who make mistakes almost on a daily basis and never seem to get much right at all. A life well lived is actually where all of the normal people spend their time actually. It is also something…a place which doesn’t get any “air time” because you are so normal. Nobody seems to care what happens to you or your family until something actually does happen and even then, if the crisis is over too soon, nobody cares.

Your family cares and maybe your church cares for a little while, but after a few months everyone moves on and nobody asks how your health is any more because simply, “NO ONE CARES!”

That is where I am right now. My depression is creeping back in and I am beginning to hate my life again because apathy has come home and taken root in our house and our extended family. The problem seems to be that this seems to have an effect on absolutely nobody except me. I am the only one who seems to notice and I feel like a wimp or a cry-baby, but that is what depression does to you.

It makes you feel as if you are worthless. Like you don’t matter and that nobody cares about you or your life! The problem with this is that it is a LIE! God does love us, each one of us, regardless of the huge size of the universe and our tiny, microscopic place in it! He knows where we are and why He put us where we are. Our place and our reason for being here are important to God, the Creator of it all! Isn’t that GREAT!

Yes, many people see this as a cop-out or a crutch to lean on, but that is not the way that I see it. Think about it like this: The Creator of EVERYTHING knows you and me and He knows exactly where we are, what we are doing and what we are capable of doing! We matter!! If you look at a model of the universe from the limits of our telescopes, you can barely see the galaxy that we live in, let alone the solar system and the star! So why do we matter to God?

Because He said that we do and because this planet is the one place where He has decided that His attention should be. Why? I don’t know, ask Him! Yes, there are trillions of other planets out there that He could’ve paid attention to, but He chose here and He chose to create mankind on this one. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be another race created in the future on another world, but right now the one that we know about is ours. God loves us and all of creation on this world. He takes note of the birds of the air and every other life on this rock in space. Why? Because He is God and He can do whatever He wishes to do.

I apologize for the down nature at the beginning, but that is how today has been for me. Sometimes it takes a little writing to pick myself up and start over from the place that I am supposed to be living, not the one that Satan is trying to get me to live in.

Thanks for listening and I hope that it might help you too.

Depression, a thief which steals your joy!

I have been staying in God’s Word lately, every day, because the spirit of depression is trying to come back into my life, into my head, and I don’t want it there! God’s Word is truly like a two-edged sword because it cuts out what Satan tries to put into your life, if you will let it. God loves us and He doesn’t want us to live a life defeated and down, depressed because of whatever Satan wants to saddle you with at the time. I am not saying that you will live a life of wealth and health and prosperity like some “preachers”, but God doesn’t want to leave you in the ditch either.

Jesus came so that we could live an abundant life in Him and through Him and it is up to us to hear His call on our lives, and decide to follow Him…to ask Him into our lives. Don’t walk away when you know that it is Jesus calling to you! You may not wake up tomorrow and tonight may be your only chance to come to know Him. It doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, Jesus takes you as you are and transforms your life and you into the person that He knows you can be!

Don’t let Satan have a laugh at your expense, cling to Jesus and ask Him to give you the strength to fight back the “bad days” of depression. He will do it and you will be better because of Him.

Is this the end?

Many times in our lives, we wonder if the problems which I am facing today are too much to handle? Is today the day that I am just going to end my life? I don’t want to go on, I don’t feel like I am worth anything, nobody likes me and I can’t talk to anyone about this! Can anything be done? Is there a hope that I can latch onto that can give me a reason to truly live?

I know the feelings that you feel. I have contemplated suicide myself, I have attempted it myself, but God has a plan for my life and yours and He is the Hope and the strength that you need! God does love you and He cares about our lives, every life no matter where you live or what you are going through, God cares! His Word, the Bible, is full of hope and love and peace that is poured out on this world and it is directed at each person on this Earth. Whether you feel it or not doesn’t matter, if you seek Him out then He will come to you and give you the strength to get through your day, your week, one day at a time.

Suicide and the pain associated with the thoughts of it is tough. It is tough on those who are thinking about it, it causes pain and heartache for the parents and the teachers who wonder if there was anything that they could’ve said that would’ve changed the outcome. Suicide and depression each cause more problems than they fix and many times it is a tool that Satan uses to keep you from being a blessing to someone in the future. Because if he can get you down low enough to cause you to take your own life, then Satan will use that against you.

The best outcome of this is that, whether you have accepted Jesus as your Savior or not, you can come to Him and He will forgive you and bring healing into your life and strength enough to overcome the enemy’s arrows of doubt and fear and hopelessness. Jesus can give you that strength that you need, from the Psalms to the New Testament, God’s Word is more powerful than anything that Satan can throw at you. But, you need to pray while reading it and seek God’s wisdom in it because Satan knows the Bible too and he can use it against you by twisting the words into something that is close but not quite the same as the Word.

Seek God out in His Word, pray to Him and ask for His power and guidance in your life, ask Jesus to come into your heart and forgive you for anything that you may have done or said, then seek Him out in the Bible. Learn as much as you can about Him and what He has for you because He will never leave you and He is always there with you no matter what.

I have been away for a while

My absence from here may not be missed much, but I have been busy with the holidays and with my other blogs as well. Since God pulled me from the pit of depression through the reading of the Psalms this year, I am reminded that we truly serve an AWESOME God!!!

He cares for each of us far more deeply than we could realize and we should praise Him every day for it. My reason for this post is a disturbing trend that is happening in our schools and colleges and in the home as well, although people won’t admit it. It seems that our young people from the age of fifteen to thirty just haven’t been taught about the faith that we should have in God and the foundation of our faith in Jesus.

How did we get into such a predicament as this? Mainly because our collective faith in God has waned to such an extent until young people don’t see a reason for it or for Him any more. In some churches, they don’t see His influence in the congregation or in the church itself, there are words said at the morning service but there seems to be no spiritual power behind them.

It seems as if the church, at least here in America, has lost its Spirit. Why would this happen? For the same reason that it happened to Israel…unbelief. Our society has been pushing God out of everyday life and out of the lives of children for over fifty years, so why would they or their parents have faith in a God that they see no evidence of, even though the world around us cries out with His glory every day!.

Creation itself speaks magnitudes of praise for God at night when we see the stars in the cosmos, when the sun rises in the morning, when a baby is born regardless of the species of baby it might be…all of these point to a Creator not to a theory! Yet, the theory is what children and young adults are bombarded with in schools and universities every day.

One day, sooner than many think or believe, Jesus will come again in the clouds and the world will see and they will understand that the beliefs that they have heard about Him are true. At that point in time though, it will be too late. ““Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
” (John 14:1), Jesus said to His disciples.

We should live out our faith in our daily lives and in front of our children and grandchildren, so that they can see the faith that we have and why we live life that way. Think about this during the next year and bring your children up to know the Lord.